Bulli Bai case- What is the complete story?

Bulli Bai case

Muslims are the long-standing victims of prejudice in the world, especially Muslim women. The prevalence of Islamophobia in India is being a growing concern for the authorities as well as the vulnerable section of the society who does not have the means and access to better options.

Globally, Muslim women face a greater challenges due to multiple layers of oppression rooted deeply in religion, customs, and gender segregation. While the community as a whole predominately be represented as a center to Islamophobic activities, there has been a growing tendency to link terrorism with Islam, but the reality seems far more pivotal and traumatic.

Thus, attacks on Muslims are frequent incidents reported every day. One such case that recently came to light in India has once again proved that in Islamophobic attacks, the majority of victims are “visible” Muslim women. The Bulli Bai case came to light when several prominent Muslim women including journalists lodged complaints of their photos being uploaded on the Bulli Bai app accompanied by derogatory content.

The controversial app Bulli Bai has been blocked following complaints by women of objectionable content.

The portal reportedly was launched on Saturday, January 1, 2022, and contained hundreds of pictures of Muslim women aimed for auction including journalists, social workers, students as well as famous personalities. The aim was specifically to derogate Muslim women with doctored pictures.

The woman who first reported the incident lodged in her complaint that “The term ‘Bulli bai’ itself seems disrespectful and the content of this website/portal is clearly aimed at insulting Muslim women as the derogatory term ‘Bulli’ is used exclusively for Muslim women and the entire website seems to have been designed with the intent of embarrassing and insulting Muslim women.”

Bulli Bai case

The Bulli Bai case is much similar to the Sulli Deals upload in July, last year. The app also worked in the same manner, once you open the app a picture of Muslim women doctored in an unacceptable manner will pop up. Several photos were taken from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook handles of Muslim women. The app was also being promoted on Twitter by the handle @bullibai, operated by ‘Khalsa Sikh Force’. The Twitter page also claimed to contain pro-Khalistan motifs. It was designed so that people could pre assume it to be run by the Sikh community, however, that’s not the truth. The accused also shared photos from the Bulli Bai app on Twitter by using handles like @bullibai_, @sage0x11, @jatkhalsa7, @wannabesigmaf, @jatkhalsa and @Sikh_khalsa11.

The Mumbai Police has recently arrested a 21-year-old engineering student from Bengaluru and also detained an 18-year-old woman from Uttrakhand in the Bulli Bai case. Vishal Kumar Jha and the woman named Shweta Singh knew each other and together created this app, posted pictures, and openly abused Muslim women in it. According to the police, the mastermind behind this app is the prime accuse Shweta Singh who was operating several accounts linked to the app.

The man, Vishal Kumar Jha, deliberately opened the account in the name of a Khalsa supporter to make it seem like it was operated by a member of the Sikh community.

As of now, Jha has been sent into 6 days of police custody whereas the woman is being detained in Uttrakhand and is soon be to brought to Mumbai. The cyber cell of the Mumbai Police also arrested Mayank Rawat (21), who is a BSc Chemistry student at Delhi University’s Zakir Hussain College. He was arrested from Kotdwar in Pauri district of Uttarakhand on Tuesday evening.

A new twist in the case came when the second accuse Shweta alleged that she was working on the instructions of her friend Giyou, a Nepal national. According to the reports, the Nepali national has challenged the Mumbai Police that he is the operator of this app and if the Police has the courage, then arrest him and show him. The investigation is still ongoing.

But the question remains? Why do Muslim women face assault firsthand? Muslim women have been fighting for their basic human rights all over the world but still face discrimination and violence both in Islamic as well as non-Islamic communities. Most of the time, it is often connected to the obligation to dress as Muslim women and cover their head or entire body. Many of them are oppressed without any agency and that is what concerns them. Though in the above case, women were brave enough to raise voices and lodge complaints, but in most of the cases, the fear of being further demoralized, women don’t even complaint.

This needs to be changed, as a society will continue to remain like this. As it is rightly said, “You cannot change the world but you can change yourself, so the world around you could change.” 


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