Student leaders targeted by ‘for sale’ apps say fight against Islamophobia will continue

Speaking to reporters in Kerala's Kozhikode on Tuesday, Renna, Ladeeda, and Nidha, three Muslim student activists demanded India's top court's intervention on targeting Muslim women through the SulliDeals and BulliBai Apps.
Aysha Renna (right) Ladeeda Farzana (middle), and Nidha Parveen (left) say they know why they were targeted on the ‘Bulli Bai’ app that appeared to offer them for sale. “Because we are Muslims,” they said.

Aysha Renna, Ladeeda Farzana, and Nidha Parveen say they know why they were targeted on the ‘Bulli Bai’ app that appeared to offer them for sale. “Because we are Muslims,” they said.

Speaking to reporters in Kerala’s Kozhikode on Tuesday, Renna, Ladeeda, and Nidha, three Muslim student activists demanded India’s top court’s intervention on targeting Muslim women through the SulliDeals and BulliBai Apps.

Nearly six months after the ‘Sulli Deals‘ where photographs of more than 80 Muslim women put up for sale by right-wing Hindus, asserting anti-Muslim hatred and selective sexism, photos of hundreds of Muslim women were uploaded by an unidentified group on an app using GitHub – by the name of ‘Bulli Bai’ – on 1 January 2022.

“We demand that the Supreme Court of India register a Suo motu petition in regard to continuous targeting of Muslim women,” Renna who is now Fraternity Movement national secretary said.

Bulli Bai happened, according to Renna, exactly because of the brutal silence of state and law and order agencies over Sulli Deals.

Last time, no police action has been taken against the perpetrators in the case, despite two FIRs filed – one in Delhi and another in Uttar Pradesh and more than a dozen complaints were written to several police stations in the country.

“This is not merely a matter of sexual harassment. Rather it is to establish the position of Muslim women in Indian society and to reinstate a consciousness that Muslim women are to be raped at any time,” student activist Ladeeda said.

“What security do we have in the public as women at a time when we are being sold and bought as slaves,” asks Ladeeda.

Ladeeda and Renna were students of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, a university that had been subjected to brutal state violence as they tried to control protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019. They were targeted by Delhi police and severely manhandled by cops. Soon after the video of police brutality went viral, the duo became the symbolic icons of the anti-CAA protest that erupted in India in 2019 winter after Modi’s government introduced the anti-Muslim amendment. They travelled across the country to speak at rallies to protest the law.

For Nidha Parveen, a student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, “it is actually very difficult” to get ahead of this “fear and trauma.”

“Whatever happened at Haridwar and now happening in the name of Sulli deals and Bulli Bai have the same goal, the extermination of Muslims,” Nidha said.

Nidha was also an active participant in 2019’s anti-CAA movement in the national capital. She was a student at Delhi University during that time.

Fraternity Movement Kerala secretary Nujaim PK and Kannur district president Lubaib Basheer were also present at the press meet.

‘Bulli Bai’ case: Mumbai police now detain Uttarakhand woman, say she handled app

Apart from the 21-year old Bengaluru man Vishal Kumar Jha detained on Monday, the Mumbai police have also detained a woman from Uttarakhand on Tuesday in connection with the ‘Bulli Bai‘ case – a GitHub app targeting hundreds of Muslim women.

“The 21-year-old man arrested by Mumbai Police Cyber Cell has been identified as Vishal Kumar. Main accused in the case is a woman detained from Uttarakhand. Both of the accused know each other,” read Mumbai Police statement.

According to Mumbai Police, the main accused woman was handling three accounts related to ‘Bulli Bai’ app.

“Co-accused Vishal Kumar opened an account by the name Khalsa supremacist. On Dec 31, he changed the names of other accounts to resemble Sikh names. Fake Khalsa account holders were shown,” claimed police.

Police also informed media that the Mumbai Police Cyber Cell today arrested the 21-year-old engineering student, who was detained from Bengaluru yesterday, following questioning in the case.