BSP MP Danish Ali on Monday accused the Narendra Modi government of being "apathetic" towards Muslim women, saying cybercriminals would not have dared to humiliate them on the 'Bulli Bai' app had "strict action" been taken against those who had hosted a similar mobile application last year.
Hundreds of Muslim women were listed for "auction" on the 'Bulli Bai' mobile application with photographs sourced without permission and doctored. It has happened for the second time in less than a year. The app appeared to be a clone of Sulli Deals which triggered a similar row last year.
Leaders from across the political spectrum condemned the cyber harassment of women belonging to the minority community and called for strict action against the guilty. Ali hit out at the BJP-led government at the Centre, saying that even though it raises the 'Beti Bachao- Beti Padhao' slogan and talks about the social security of Muslim women, the reality is "something different".
"An app named 'Bulli Bai' is spreading hatred against Muslim women on social media. Muslim women are being targeted on this app," the BSP MP said. A similar "hate-spreading" app -- 'Sulli Deal' -- had been launched on the Github platform in the past as well, "but the government kept its eyes closed because it only cares about its vote bank, not the safety and dignity of women", he alleged.
"Had strict action been taken against those who made the shameful 'auction' of Muslim women on social media in July last year, cybercriminals would not have been so spirited and dared to humiliate the daughters of the country once again," Ali said. "This apathy of the government towards Muslim women puts a big question mark on the intention of the government," he charged.
The Delhi Police has sought details from the GitHub platform about the developer of the 'Bulli Bai' mobile application and has written to Twitter for information about the account handler who first posted about the app, officials said on Monday. The city police also asked Twitter to block and remove on the microblogging platform any "offensive content" shared from the app.
After widespread outrage and demands for action against those behind the app, IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said on Sunday that the government is working with police in Delhi and Mumbai, where cases have been registered in the matter. He also said that GitHub has blocked the user who had uploaded the app and that the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), the country's nodal agency on cyber security, and police are coordinating further action in the matter.
The National Commission for Women had also written to the Delhi Police to expedite its action in the case related to the app to ensure that such crimes do not recur. Terming the matter "serious", Delhi Minorities Commission issued a notice to city police chief Rakesh Asthana seeking an action-taken report on January 10. It said the interests of Muslim women need to be safeguarded by nabbing the culprits.
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has also asked police officials to appear before it later this week. In July last year, a case was registered by the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police after it received a similar complaint about an unidentified group uploading photos of Muslim women on the 'Sulli Deals' mobile application. Police officials said an investigation is on in that matter too.
-With PTI Inputs