‘Those Who Normalise Bulli Bai Creators, Are Breeding Rapists’
Haleema, 22, a law student in Uttar Pradesh, says communally targeted hate apps indicate a disturbing social trend in the country
I am shocked and aghast, both as a girl and a law student, as how easy it is for people to create derogatory and misogynistic apps like Sulli Deal and Bulli Bai. Kya naya sal ka tohfa diya gaya hai Muslim women ko, jaise unki koi izzat nahi (What a New Year gift! As if Muslim women have no privacy). This level of misogyny, targeted misogyny at Muslim women is scary.
The people who were visiting these apps gleefully must understand that the creators of such apps have sick minds and in future they can turn their hatred to any group, including Hindu women. If we normalise such behaviour, it will breed heinous criminals such as rapists. The safety and modesty of women should be taken seriously.
I had no idea about the Sulli Deal app and came to know about it only after I witnessed the outrage against the Bulli Bai app. A part of me wonders if the timing of the app creation and subsequent arrest of the creators has anything to with the upcoming UP elections.
As a law student I believe that no matter which party comes to power, cyber laws must be strengthened. We were anyway living a large part of our lives virtually and with the pandemic the shift has been even bigger; social media presence is inescapable.
As women in general and Muslims in particular, we also need to be vocal in our protest against such happenings and do everything in our capacity to bring about a change. Wherever we see a scope for social sensitisation we should take part in it. Yet, I still feel worried about young and small town girls who get easily scared about such matters and in extreme cases it might even become victims of honour killing or mistreatment. Or they may suffer silently, undergo depression….
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I am happy that certain prominent Muslim women like RJ Sayema are talking about it and not sweeping the issue under the rug. Many vocal Muslim women’s pictures were used in the app. However, I do have faith in God. The very women they are trying to quieten have shown nerves of steel during the Shaheen Bagh protests. If we are being targeted for our faith I believe it is also our faith that will save us. God will take care of us through every trial the life throws at us.
The saddest thing for me in this whole fiasco is the involvement of another woman, Shweta Singh. How could the seeds of hatred run so deep that a woman could think of auctioning off other women? And I wish youngsters like Neeraj Bishnoi had rather used their technical skill set in solving problems that the pandemic has given rise to. These are misdirected, vulnerable youngsters but very shatir too. The government should take strict action against the creators but also not forget that it is a reflection of a larger social malady: hatred for Muslims.
Until a few years ago I was an Indian Muslim, but now we are seen as Muslims only I guess. Even young kids know what religious divides are all about. I haven’t been mercilessly trolled online, though an othering of the identity is definitely there, but this takes things to a whole new level.
And yet again I keep believing in the idea of India, where the culture is one of love. I hope and pray the communal hatred will soon die down. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we need to support rather than hate each other in these times of global crisis.