A third person has been arrested in connection with a case related to an app on which more than 100 prominent Muslim women were listed for an “online auction”, Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said on Wednesday.
The accused person, who has been identified as 21-year-old Mayank Rawal, was arrested from Uttarakhand, according to India Today.
On Tuesday, the Mumbai Police had arrested Vishal Kumar Jha, a 21-year-old engineering student a day after detaining him, and 18-year-old Shweta Singh in connection with the case.
“The third accused is Shweta’s friend,” said Nagrale. “Some more people could be involved in this matter.”
A Bandra court has sent Kumar to police custody till January 10.
Nagrale said the case needs to be investigated properly, according to News18. “Hence, we cannot give many details as it will compromise the case,” he added.
Shweta Singh was allegedly the handling three accounts related to the open source app, “Bulli Bai”. The app was allegedly her brainchild, said the Uttarakhand Police. “It seems she got involved in such activities for money,” said Uttarakhand Police chief Ashok Kumar, according to NDTV.
Photos of the Muslim women were taken from their social media accounts without permission and displayed on the app for “sale” as “Bulli Bai” of the day. The app, which was hosted on web platform GitHub, has since taken it down following outrage on social media.
“Co-accused Vishal Kumar opened an account [on the app] by the name ‘Khalsa supremacist’,” the Mumbai Police had said on Tuesday. “On December 31, he changed the names of other accounts to resemble Sikh names. Fake Khalsa account holders were shown.”
This was the second attempt in recent months to harass Muslim women in the country by “auctioning” them online.
In July, an app called “Sulli Deals” had posted hundreds of images of Muslim women and described them as “deals of the day”. Both “Bulli” and “Sulli” are derogatory words used to refer to Muslim women.
The police in Noida and Delhi had registered separate cases in connection with the “Sulli Deals” app, but no arrests have been made so far.
On Sunday, the Mumbai and Delhi police had registered a first information report against unknown culprits under Indian Penal Code Sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups based on religion), 153B (assertions that damage national integrity), 354A (punishment for sexual harassment), and 509 (insult to modesty of a woman) for the “Bulli Bai” auction.
Additionally, the Mumbai Police had also invoked Indian Penal Code Sections 295A (malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 500 (defamation), and Section 67 (punishment for publishing lewd content) of the Information Technology Act.