Act on time to stop repeat offences

In a welcome respite, the Mumbai Police arrested three people in connection with an application (app) that shared photos of more than 100 Muslim women saying they were on “sale”. The app was hosted on the web platform GitHub, which has since taken it down amid widespread anger and outrage. Photographs of several prominent Muslim journalists and activists were uploaded on the Bulli Bai app without their permission and put on “sale” in a fake auction.

This is the second attempt to harass Muslim women by “auctioning” them online.

In July last year, an app and website called ‘Sulli Deals’ created profiles of more than 80 Muslim women – using photos they uploaded online – and described them as “deals of the day”.

Sulli is a derogatory Hindi slang term right-wing Hindu trolls use for Muslim women, and bulli is also pejorative.

In the Sulli deals case, the Delhi Police failed to make any arrest though an FIR was lodged. But this time, the Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Government took action and ensured the arrest of the people involved in the crime.

The action of Mumbai forced the Delhi Police to initiate some action.

On Thursday evening, they arrested Neeraj Bishnoi, the main conspirator and creator of ‘Bulli Bai’ on GitHub. Mumbai deserves appreciation for the prompt action. The Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress alliance government in Maharashtra also deserves to be appreciated for taking the case seriously.

This is how a government is supposed to function in a democracy.

In both cases, there was no real sale, but the purpose was to degrade and humiliate Muslim women – many of whom have been vocal about the rising tide of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.