#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | ‘Bulli Bai’ app row: Mumbai police detain woman from Uttarakhand, arrest student from Bengaluru


The cyber cell of Mumbai police which is probing the `Bulli Bai’ app case has detained a 19-year-old woman, believed to be the main culprit, from Uttarakhand and arrested an engineering student from Bengaluru, officials said on Tuesday.
Vishal Kumar Jha (21), the arrested student, and the suspect woman from Uttarakhand allegedly knew each other. A court in Mumbai remanded Jha in police custody till January 10.

The city police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified persons following complaints that photographs of hundreds of Muslim women were uploaded for ‘auction’ on an app called `Bulli Bai’, hosted on the open-source software platform GitHub.

While there was no actual `auction’ or `sale’, the purpose of the app seemed to be to humiliate and intimidate the targeted women, many of whom are active social media users. A team of the Mumbai cyber police has detained a 19-year-old woman in Uttarakhand, an official said in Mumbai, adding that she seemed to be the main person behind this app.
The woman was suspected to be operating multiple accounts related to the app, the official said. She was being produced before a court in Uttarakhand for transit remand, and then she would be brought to Mumbai, he said.

Earlier, the cyber police arrested engineering student Jha who had been detained in Bengaluru in connection with the case on Monday. The Mumbai cyber police station has also registered a case against the app’s unidentified developers and Twitter handles which promoted it.

A few of these Twitter handles had photographs or caricatures of Turbaned persons in their profile pictures and the posts in question contained text in the Punjabi script, in an apparent attempt to mislead about the identity, police said.

The app used doctored photographs of hundreds of Muslim women, sourced without permission. Mumbai police produced Jha before the Bandra metropolitan magistrate’s court here on Tuesday, and sought his custody for ten days. The court remanded him in police’s custody till January 10. It also granted police permission to carry out searches at his house in Bengaluru.

While seeking his custody, the police told the court that after the suspect detained in Uttarakhand is brought here and her custody is obtained, the two accused will be questioned together. “My client Vishal Jha has been falsely implicated in the case. He had no role to play in the creation of this app or any fake accounts. He is only a student,” his lawyer Dinesh Prajapati told PTI.

Prajapati also denied that Jha knew the woman. This was the second such case of this kind of sexual harassment and cyber-bullying targeting women from the minority community. A similar-looking app and website called `Sulli Deals’ had come to light earlier this year.

Amid outrage, the Delhi Police has sought details from the GitHub platform about the developers of the ‘Bulli Bai’ mobile application and also asked Twitter to block and remove related “offensive contents”. The police also sought from Twitter information about the account handler who first tweeted about the app.

Leaders from across the political spectrum condemned this cyber harassment and called for strict action against the culprits. Terming the matter as “serious”, the Delhi Minorities Commission has issued a notice to Delhi police chief Rakesh Asthana seeking an action-taken report by January 10.



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