‘Bulli Bai’ case: Bengaluru engineering student Vishal arrested by Mumbai police

The 21-year-old student Vishal was detained on January 3 by Mumbai police in connection with the mobile app that ‘auctioned’ Muslim women online.
Representative image of a silhouette of a man against a window
Representative image of a silhouette of a man against a window

The Mumbai police on Tuesday, January 4, formally arrested the 21-year-old Bengaluru student who was detained in connection with the ‘Bulli Bai’ application where Muslim women were ‘auctioned.’ A senior Mumbai police official has confirmed that the student has been identified as Vishal Kumar Jha, who is a second-year engineering student studying in Bengaluru. The official also said that the cyber cell has also detained one more person in connection with the case, a woman from Uttarakhand, who they believe is the main accused in the case. The police have not revealed any more information about the two. 

The arrest has been made after an FIR was registered by the Mumbai police after hundreds of Muslim women were listed for ‘auction' on the 'Bulli Bai' app with photographs sourced without permission and doctored. ‘Bulli’ is a derivative of a derogatory term used for Muslim women. TNM had earlier reported that the Mumbai police believe that there may be more than one person involved in the case. Maharashtra Minister Satej Patil had told TNM that the police have sufficient proof to believe that the college student and others were enlisted by someone else. 

The Mumbai police are looking to make arrests of people who were involved and Patil said that they are being careful not to reveal anything at this time, so as to not alert people who were operating with the Bengaluru student. “There is a gang operation behind this. By this evening, there will be a press conference where more details will be made public,” Patil said.

This ‘auction’ of Muslim women has happened for the second time in less than a year. The app appeared to be a clone of ‘Sulli Deals’ which had triggered a massive row last year, but no arrests have been made in that case. Police had initially filed a First Information Report (FIR) against unknown persons following complaints that photographs of Muslim women were uploaded for ‘auction' on the app hosted by GitHub platform.

The app had drawn widespread outrage from social media users, as well as in political circles. The Delhi Police sought details from the GitHub platform about the developer of the app and asked Twitter to block and remove related "offensive contents" on its platform. 

A case was registered by the Mumbai police against the developers of the app on January 1 under sections 354-D (stalking of women), 500 (Punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other sections of the Information Technology Act. 

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