'Bulli Bai' App Case: Mumbai Police Arrest Student for Listing Muslim Women for 'Auction'

© AP Photo / Amel EmricA Muslim woman talks with a friend during events to observe World Hijab Day, celebrating the veil traditionally worn by Muslim women
A Muslim woman talks with a friend during events to observe World Hijab Day, celebrating the veil traditionally worn by Muslim women - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.01.2022
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On Tuesday, an 18-year-old girl, Shweta Singh, from India's Uttarakhand state and a 21-year-old engineering student, Vishal Kumar Jha, from Karnataka state's Bengaluru city were arrested by police in a "Bulli Bai" app case that listed over 100 Muslim women including journalists, social workers, students, and celebrities for an “online auction”.
Mumbai Police on Wednesday made a third arrest in the controversial "Bulli Bai" app case by taking a 21-year-old science student from India's Uttarakhand state into custody for allegedly listing hundreds of Muslim women for online auction.
Rawat was reportedly pursuing a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in chemistry from a Delhi University college. He returned to his hometown due to rising coronavirus cases in Delhi and was remotely studying.
Police have revealed that Rawat is a friend of an 18-year-old girl from Uttarakhand, Shweta Singh, who was arrested on Tuesday.
The police said that Singh seems to be the mastermind of the crime and she allegedly uploaded pictures of Muslim women on the app hosted on the GitHub platform, using three different accounts.
She was allegedly using a fake Twitter handle with the name JattKhalsa07 to upload hate posts, objectionable photos, and comments.
The police also said that Singh lost her father to COVID-19 last year and her mother to cancer before she appears to have gotten involved in the "Bulli Bai" case to earn money.
While investigating the case, the Mumbai Police also apprehended on Tuesday a 21-year-old engineering student Vishal Kumar Jha from Bengaluru city of Karnataka state. He has been brought to Mumbai for questioning and will remain in police custody until 10 January.
Jha's lawyer D. Prajapati told the Indian media on Tuesday that his client has been falsely implicated in this case.
The "Bulli Bai" controversy kicked off on 1 January after hundreds of Muslim women found themselves listed in an online auction on the app hosted by GitHub platform.
Photographs were sourced and published on the app without the individuals' permission, in an apparent attempt to target and harass Muslim women.
The "Bulli Bai" app was also promoted by a Twitter handle with the name @bullibai which was suspended after people reported it.
The app appears to be a clone of a similar app, "Sulli Deals", that sparked uproar in July 2021 after photos of dozens of Muslim women were uploaded for auction as the “deal of the day”.
"Sulli" and "Bulli" are derogatory words used by some Hindus to describe Muslim women.
In the case of Bulli Bai, several police complaints have been filed in three different states — Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Telangana, as well as in the Union Territory of Delhi.
The Delhi Police have transferred the Bulli Bai case to its Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSCO) unit which is also probing the "Sulli Deals" case.
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