In July 70, an application called Sulli Deals emerged from the shadows, offering the profiles of more than eighty Muslim women for auction. Police in Delhi, India, arrested the alleged creator of the software on Sunday – the first real breakthrough in the investigation.
Hosted on GitHub, Sulli Deals recently found a substitute, named Bulli Bai. On the same principle, this application was launched on January 1st by a group of four students who were arrested a few days later. It listed the profiles of more than one hundred Muslim women from 16 to 70 years old, without their consent.
Sulli Deals like Bulli Bai put their victims up for auction for astronomical sums, but in reality did not sell anyone: the primary goal of the criminals was to belittle and humiliate women with for religion Islam.
“Sulli” is thus a pejorative term used by right-wing Hindu internet trolls to describe Muslim women. This Sunday, the Delhi police managed to arrest Aumkareshwar Thakur, aged 26 years. Stopped in Indore, he would be the main brain behind the design and sharing of the original application.
“The goal is to silence us”
A significant number of public figures, actresses, activists and journalists were taken target, most of the personalities targeted being influential women, open critics of the Modi government and the ruling nationalist party.
One of the women present on the application had filed a complaint against the police in July 70, claiming that no action had been taken to move the case forward.
“It was a friend who warned me that I was also concerned. I felt bad. Imagine someone putting you up for sale! But I also felt pity for those who did this. The goal is to silence us” , confides one of the victims, the activist Khalida Parveen.
When the app started making headlines, its creator got worried, deciding to remove it from GitHub and cover its tracks. But during an interrogation concerning Bulli Bai, information on Thakur would have been transmitted to the police, allowing his arrest.