United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Fernand de Varennes on Tuesday expressed concern about the harassment of Indian Muslim women on social media. Condemning the “Sulli Deals” app, Varennes said the rights of minorities must be protected fully.
“Minority Muslim women in India are harassed and ‘sold’ in social media apps, Sulli Deals, a form of hate speech, must be condemned and prosecuted as soon as they occur,” he wrote on Twitter while sharing a news report on the open-source app. “All Human Rights of minorities need to be fully and equally protected.”
The “Sulli Deals” app was called out on social media in July after it targeted Muslim women. The open-source app used photos of Muslim women taken from their social media accounts without permission and displayed them for “online auction”.
On January 9, the Delhi Police made the first arrest – Aumkareshwar Thakur who allegedly created the app – in the “Sulli Deals” case. The Delhi Police had filed a first information report on the matter in July but had made no arrest in the six months since then.
The arrest was made days after a similar app, called “Bulli Bai” was found to be hosted on the web platform GitHub. Both “Sulli and “Bulli” are derogatory words used to refer to Muslim women.
In the “Bulli Bai” app case, four persons, including the alleged creator, have been arrested.