A Delhi court on Friday denied bail to Neeraj Bishnoi, who is one the accused persons in a case pertaining to an app on which more than 100 prominent Muslim women were listed for an “online auction”, Bar and Bench reported. The court said that Bishnoi’s act was an “affront to the dignity of women of a particular community and communal harmony of society”.
Bishnoi and three others have been accused of taking photos of the Muslim women from their social media accounts without permission and displayed them on the app for “sale” as “Bulli Bai” of the day. “Bulli” is a derogatory way to refer to Muslim women.
The app, which was hosted on web platform GitHub, has since taken it down following outrage on social media.
The police opposed Bishnoi’s bail saying that they were scrutinising the digital equipment used in creating the app, The Indian Express reported. They also said that he was involved in several cases registered at different police stations in India.
The court said that since the allegation was substantial and that investigation is still in progress there is no ground for bail at this stage. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma said that the app was a “vilification campaign” against women, Live Law reported.
“Facts disclose accused created [an] app where women journalists, celebrities of [a] particular community, famous on social media are targeted, projected in a bad light with an objective to insult and humiliate,” the court order stated.
Bishnoi, a resident of Assam, is an engineering student. Earlier this month, he was remanded to police custody for seven days.
He has been booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 354A (sexual harassment), and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).
‘Online auction’ of women
The “Bulli Bai” app 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”.
The police in Noida and Delhi had registered separate cases in connection with the “Sulli Deals” app but had made no arrests till the “Bulli Bai” matter came to the fore earlier in January.
On January 9, the Delhi Police arrested Aumkareshwar Thakur, who allegedly created the “Sulli Deals” app. He is the first person to be arrested in the case.