Bulli Bai, Sulli Deals Creators Granted Bail On 'Humanitarian Grounds'; A Recap Of The Controversies

According to reports, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, KPS Malhotra, said that the basic ground of granting bail to the Sulli Deals and Bulli Bai creators was the forensic lab reports. However, reports from intermediaries were still awaited. 

Screengrab of Sulli Deals and Bulli Bai apps.

The alleged creators of derogatory ‘Sulli Deals’ and ‘Bulli Bai’ apps, Aumkareshwar Thakur and Niraj Bishnoi, respectively were granted bail on Monday by a local court in Delhi. According to reports, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, KPS Malhotra, said that the basic ground of granting bail was the forensic lab reports, however, reports from intermediaries were still awaited. 

He further stated that the bail was granted on ‘humanitarian grounds’ and the accused were ‘first-time offenders’. Considering the ‘well-being’ of the accused, the trial court said that no shortcoming in the investigation could be pointed out. 

On January 8, the Delhi Police nabbed Thakur,25, from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore. 

Bulli Bai is an app that surfaced on January 1, 2022 on Github, a platform for developing and hosting software using Git. About 100 Muslim women including prominent voices in journalism, civil society found their images and profiles on the site, which invited bids for auctions on the women.
According to the victims, the profiles, which contained images and other personal details of the victims, were created and being propagated without the consent of the women.

In July 2020, a similar app by the name of "Sulli Deals" emerged, putting several Muslim women up for "auction" to online bidders. The term "sulli" is a derogatory word used to refer to Muslim women. The app was taken down following outrage by noted Muslim women who were on the app as well as others in civil society. However, no legal action had as yet been taken against those behind the app. Many of the victims who found themselves on the Bulli Bai app were repeat victims and have since claimed on social media that inaction on part of authorities may have emboldened the offenders. The Delhi Police had registered an FIR in July last year after DCW's intervention. 

The controversy around the app

The Bulli Bai controversy led to outrage from several sections of society including politicians across parties. Congress leaders like Congress' Shashi Tharoor denounced the "selling" of people online as while former Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi called the incident an "insult of women".

The incident also led to outrage against the communal forces at play behind it. The All India Progressive Women's Association alleged that "Hindu supremacists" were behind this and expressed solidarity with the victims.

The outrage of the Bulli Bai controversy has led to action from cyber cells of various state police departments as well as the Union IT ministry with Ashwini Vaishnaw informing that the site had been taken down from Github.