A Delhi court has rejected the bail plea of Aumkareshwar Thakur, who had allegedly created an app called “Sulli Deals” on which Muslim women were put for “online auction” last year, Live Law reported on Sunday.
“Sulli” is a derogatory way to refer to Muslim women.
While rejecting Thakur’s bail plea on Saturday, Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhra Chhaunkar said that the “misuse of technology and the impact of the alleged acts on the larger section of society cannot be reduced to negligible when being compared to the other offences with harsher punishment”.
Thakur was arrested on January 9 by the Delhi Police from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city.
The “Sulli Deals” app was called out on social media after it targeted Muslim women in July. The Delhi Police had filed a first information report on the matter but had made no arrest in the six months since then. Thakur was the first person to be arrested in the case.
The police sprung to action after on January 1, a similar app called “Bulli Bai” – another derogatory term used to target Muslim women – emerged. Four persons, including this app’s alleged creator, have been arrested in the case.
In both cases, images of hundreds of Muslim women were downloaded and posted on the apps and uploaded on GitHub. Both the apps have been taken down by the platform after outrage on social media.
At the hearing on Thakur’s bail plea on Saturday, the prosecution argued that investigation had showed that Thakur had created the “Sulli Deals” on hosting platform GitHub. He and other persons had then posted pictures of various Muslim women for “online auction”, the prosecution submitted before the court.
The prosecution lawyers also told the court that the term “Sulli” was disrespectful and aimed at insulting Muslim women.
Meanwhile, Thakur’s lawyer argued that Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) of the Indian Penal Code could not be applied in the matter as the case did not involve two groups among which a feeling of enmity could be promoted.
The lawyer also submitted that there was no reference to the other community in the first information report.
In its order, the court noted that Thakur had consciously used an internet browser called “Tor Browser”, which allowed him to hide his identity. The court also took into its consideration several complaints made against the app that are pending across the country.
The court said that the investigation was currently in its early stages and crucial evidence and further chain of events were yet to be unearthed.
“Granting bail to the accused at this juncture will prejudice a fair investigation,” the judge said. “Therefore, in the opinion of the court, the accused is not entitled to bail at this stage. On the basis of above observations and reasons, bail application of accused Aumkareshwar Thakur is dismissed.”
On Friday, a Delhi court had denied bail to Neeraj Bishnoi, who is one the accused persons in the “Bulli Bai” case. The court had said that Bishnoi’s act was an “affront to the dignity of women of a particular community and communal harmony of society”.