Hyderabad cops register FIR in ‘Bulli Bai’ case, say trafficking charges don’t apply

Veteran activist Khalida Parveen, whose name and image had featured on the app which targeted Muslim women, had earlier insisted that police include charges of trafficking in the FIR.
Activist Khalida Parveen who was targeted in the 'Bulli bai' app: Hyderabad cops register FIR, say trafficking charges don’t apply
Activist Khalida Parveen who was targeted in the 'Bulli bai' app: Hyderabad cops register FIR, say trafficking charges don’t apply
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Based on a complaint from veteran social activist Khalida Parveen, the Hyderabad police have registered an FIR in the case of the now-deleted ‘Bulli Bai’ app, which had targeted several Muslim women and “auctioned” them as “Bulli Bai”, a derogatory term used to describe Muslim women. An FIR was registered at the Cyber Crime Police Station in Hyderabad against unknown persons under section 67 of the IT Act (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form), and sections 354D (stalking of women) and 509 (act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code. 

Khalida had earlier told TNM that she insisted the police include charges of “trafficking” in the First Information Report (FIR) against the perpetrators. However, the police have not included these charges. Speaking to TNM, Cyber Crime Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) KVM Prasad said, “Trafficking would have to involve the sale of a person from one party to another, but this is not exactly such an instance. There is no actual trafficking. It’s mentioned that they are for sale, but all of this happened over an app, virtually,” he said, adding that while harassment has occurred, it is considered that the actual offence of trafficking was not committed, and hence those charged were not applied. 

The app had targeted several outspoken Muslim women, and Khalida said those who built the app seemed to have targeted Muslim women for “the resilience they have been showing against the current government.” Khalida has played an active role in the fight against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). More recently, she had led a Twitter campaign calling for arrests of the culprits who incited violence against Muslims in the Haridwar hate speech conclave. Khalida said that the ‘Bulli Bai’ campaign appeared to be a tactic to divert attention from the Haridwar hate speech controversy. 

This was the second time that an incident of ‘auctioning’ of Muslim women has happened in less than a year. The ‘Bulli Bai’ app appeared to be a clone of ‘Sulli Deals’ which came to light in July 2020, also on GitHub. Khalida had also asked the police to book GitHub for facilitating a platform to commit the crime for the second time. 

The Mumbai and the Delhi police have also registered separate FIRs in connection with the app. The Mumbai police on January 4 arrested a 21-year-old Bengaluru student named Vishal in connection with the case. Vishal, a second-year engineering student, had been detained from Bengaluru by Mumbai police on January 3. 

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