The Indian cyberspace, rife with misogyny and harassment against minorities, particularly Muslim women, has seen an uptick in recent years. The fake site, Bulli Bai, is the second such attempt in months that targets Muslim women and threatens them of sexual violence. The scope of such malicious activities is to silence those who question Narender Modi’s government policies.
More than 100 Muslim women saw their photographs sourced without their permission and uploaded on Bulli Bai to create fake profiles. These fake profiles saw these women for sale to the highest bidder online. The frequency of such incidents, second of the year, points towards an organized circle of virtual bullies.
Read More: Sulli Deals: Indian Muslim women found themselves on “up for sale” on App
Quratulain Rehbar, a journalist in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), woke up to see her picture on one such profile listed for an online auction. She was also joined by numerous other Muslim women, politicians, journalists, and prominent actresses, basically, anyone who raised a voice against the incumbent government’s policies.
It is very sad that as a Muslim woman you have to start your new year with this sense of fear & disgust. Of course it goes without saying that I am not the only one being targeted in this new version of #sullideals. Screenshot sent by a friend this morning.
Happy new year. pic.twitter.com/pHuzuRrNXR
— Ismat Ara (@IsmatAraa) January 1, 2022
Ara, who is one such affectee of this online smear campaign, says that “Women who have been targeted are vocal women who raise issues of Muslims on social media. It is a clear conspiracy to shut these Muslim women because we challenge the Hindu right-wing online against their hate crimes.”
After the previous attempt, “Sulli deals”, which saw 80 Muslim women up for auction, “Bulli Bai” is the second such case of online harassment targetting minorities in India. Both the words Sulli and Bulli are derogatory terms used against Muslim women of India. But this is only the second of the auction site targetting Muslim women. Last year during the festival of Eid, a Youtube channel shared pictures of women in the sexualized video.
Read More: Indian women farmers on the front lines of protests
Although cases have been registered and all the sites were taken down eventually, but these incidents point towards a sentiment that is really concerning. India has seen the rise of separatist ideologies ever since the Modi government came in. The RSS ideology has been on the rise, and the country has even seen outright calls for genocide of Muslims. All these events either point to a degradation of state authority or the compliance of the state authority in targetting Muslims.
India needs to eliminate identity politics and separatist policies and cater to the safety and security of its largest minority group who feel insecure and neglected under the current government’s rule. Quratulain Rehbar, one of the affectees, terms the situation as really alarming and a cause for concern who are “fighting patriarchy” on the one hand and “harassment” on the other.