Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

Bulli Bai, a local slang ‘Bulli’ refers to a derogatory word used for Muslim women specifically.
Recently an app was designed on Microsoft owned open software development site called GitHub,
which ‘auctioned’ off more than 100 Muslim women.

It’s not for the first time in the row, last July has witnessed a similar case wherein nearly 80 Muslim women were put for ‘for sale’ and described them as ‘deal of the day’ on a platform known as ‘Sulli Deals’.

Although Noida and Delhi have lodged the FIRs but no result can be seen so far. In the instances they
haven’t spared anyone from an actor Shabana Azmi to Delhi high court judge’s wife.

The app was taken down and police were coordinating with cyber agencies for ‘further actions.’
Furthermore, politicians like Satej Patil not only condemned the act but also criticized the digital
platforms for being ‘rife with misogyny and communal hatred’.

Since there was no real deal or sale of any kind, hence the motive is to demean and humiliate
women and targeting communities composing the Indian diaspora.

A report of amnesty international 2018 on online harassment in India shows the swell in the number of trolling cases against woman. The more opinionated she is, the more likely she is to be targeted, it worsens if she belongs to a religious minority or disadvantaged castes.

The polarized political atmosphere of India has led to the spike in trolling cases against Muslim

Nazia Erum, the author and former spokesperson of Amnesty in India, suggested that “this
targeted and well-planned attack is an attempt to take away the mic from the educated Muslim
women who express their opinion and speak out against islamophobia.”

Furthermore, its not the first attempt to exert power by steering women in history, women have
been the “soft target” for this sort of sexual as well as emotional abuse like communal dog-
whistling, since ages.

Now, the cape of obscurity afforded by the virtual world emboldens the offender and ease up the process.

The rising instances of Hate speeches against the religious minorities and disadvantaged castes in
India has raised the question on its existing laws to check whether it covers the inflammatory and
provocative talk?

The term “Hate Speech” doesn’t have any specific legal definition. Any kind of action, sign, speech that spreads disharmony between the communities and groups is refer to hate speech and treated as a criminal offense in the eyes of law.

The main penal provision that deals with incendiary remarks and expressions, that seek to punish the hate mongers are sections 153A and 505 of Indian Penal Code.

According to section 153A ‘promotion of enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony’ is treated as a punishable offence with three years imprisonment.

It has subsequent additions if committed in a place of worship or religious ceremonies. To boot, section
505 of IPC makes it an offence to making “statement conducting to public mischief”.

Hence the law commission has proposed two new sections, Section 153C and 505A which are the
separate transgressions to be added in the IPC to criminalize hate speech specifically rather than
relying on the existing sections concerning with incendiary acts and speeches.


Amnesty’s report on Violence against Women

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