Bulli Bai: 100 Muslim women including Malala listed on Indian app for ‘auction’

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Bulli Bai: 100 Muslim women including Malala listed on Indian app for ‘auction’
Bulli Bai: 100 Muslim women including Malala listed on Indian app for ‘auction’
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A journalist from Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), Quratulain Rehbar, woke up on January 1 to find herself on an “online sale” list.

Her photo was taken without her knowledge and posted on an app for “sale.”

She was not alone.

Photographs of around 100 Muslim women, including notable actress Shabana Azami, the wife of a sitting Delhi High Court judge, as well as journalists, activists, and politicians, were posted on the app for auction as “Bulli Bai” of the day.

The perpetrators did not even spare Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Nobel Laureate.

“Bulli Bai” was the second such attempt in less than a year, following the “Sulli Deals” in July, in which almost 80 Muslim women were “for sale.”

“In local slang, both ‘Bulli’ and ‘Sulli’ are disparaging terms for Muslim women.

“However, the Punjabi language was used alongside English in the ‘Bulli Bai’ interface this time,” journalist Mohammad Zubair of fact-checking website AltNews told Al Jazeera.

Rehbar, who covered the “Sulli Deals” auction in July of last year, told Al Jazeera she was taken aback when she saw her photo on the app.

“When I saw my photograph, my throat got heavy, I had goosebumps on my arms, and I was numb.”

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She described the experience as “shocking and embarrassing.”

While there was no actual sale, the internet application – which was created on Microsoft’s free software development site GitHub – was designed to “degrade and humiliate vocal Muslim women,” according to Rehbar.

The app was taken down on Saturday when users reported that the GitHub extension for “Bulli Bai” looked suspiciously like the one used by “Sulli Deals.”

After seeing their photos and information on the app, scores of other Muslim women began voicing their astonishment and fury on social media by Saturday evening.

Ismat Ara, a New Delhi-based journalist, was one of them.

On Saturday, Ismat filed a complaint with the Delhi Police against “unknown people” on social media for harassing and abusing Muslim women “by utilising doctored pictures in an improper and filthy manner.”

On Sunday, Delhi Cyber Police filed a First Information Report (FIR) based on her complaint, invoking different provisions of the Indian Penal Code that deal with fostering religious hostility, threatening national integration, and sexual harassment of women.

Ismat also shared a tweet saying “I am not the only one being targeted in this new version of #sullideals. Screenshot sent by a friend this morning.”

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