March 21, 2023

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India is investigating a fake website that sells Muslim women

New Delhi (CNN Business) – The Indian government says it is investigating a website that allegedly sells Muslim women, the second time in a year that such a fake online auction has sparked outrage in the country.

Website created at GitHub, An American encryption site Used by developers to create and host software. It was called “Bully Boy” which combines the slang of the word “penis” in South India with a common North Indian word for “maid” says co-founder of the website Mohammad Zubair. Indian fact-checking Alt news.

Zubair told CNN Business that he had posted photos of 100 Muslim women and taken screenshots of them all before they were removed.

The page was later removed, and there was no practical use other than the use of fake auctions to harass and troll Muslim women.

GitHub, owned by Microsoft, said it had deleted an account.

“GitHub has long-standing policies against content and behavior that include harassment, discrimination and incitement to violence,” a spokesman said. “We have suspended a user account following reports of this type of activity violating our policies.”

According to Jubair (who assisted the police in the investigation), the page had photos of Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and famous Indian actress Shabana Azmi. Many journalists and activists in the country released screenshots of the page after finding their photos next to the words “Bully Boy of the Day”.

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This page caused an uproar on Twitter over the weekend. Opposition politicians have urged the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to take action against online harassment and persecution of Muslim women.

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“‘Selling’ to someone online is a cyber crime and I urge the police to take immediate action,” Congress leader Sasi Tharoor tweeted. “Teachers deserve an exemplary and worthy punishment.”

On Sunday, Indian Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnav tweeted, “The government is working with the Delhi and Mumbai police agencies on this matter.”

Ismat Ara, in a complaint to cyber security officials of the Delhi Police, wrote that “the entire website appears to have been designed with the intention of humiliating and insulting Muslim women”. Ara, who found his photo on the site, tweeted a copy of his police report.

The second case in India in a few months

This is not the first time Muslim women in India have faced such harassment on the internet. Last July, photos of more than 80 Muslim women, including journalists, writers and influencers, were published in a fake processor called Sully Deals, a term often used by right-wing Hindu men to denigrate Muslim women. The ability to “buy” women into a sale item at the site auction was given to users, which was conducted on GidHub.

At the time, Muslim women told CNN that the online abuse they were facing reflected the attitude towards Muslims in India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP came to power in 2014.

In recent years, reports of hate crimes against Muslims have been on the rise, and many BJP-ruling states have enacted laws that critics say have contributed to increased religious polarization.

This weekend, Twitter user Hiba Beck said her photos were used at both events. “I’m censored myself, I’m hard to talk to anymore, but still, they sell me online, they ‘deal’ with me,” he tweeted. “How Many Online Deals Need to Take Action?”

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– Isha Mitra, Riya Mogul and Swati Gupta contributed to this report.