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India is investigating a pretend web site that supplied Muslim girls on the market

The web site was created on GitHub, an American coding platform which builders use to construct and host software program. It was referred to as “Bulli Bai,” a phrase that mixes vulgar slang for the phrase “penis” in southern India with a phrase widespread in northern India that means “maid,” based on Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of Indian fact-checking web site Alt News.

He informed CNN Business that the location posted photographs of 100 Muslim girls, and that he had taken screenshots of all of them earlier than they had been deleted.

The web page has since been eliminated, and there isn’t any indication that it had any sensible use past utilizing a pretend public sale to harass and troll Muslim girls.

GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft (MSFT), mentioned it had taken down an account.

“GitHub has longstanding policies against content and conduct involving harassment, discrimination, and inciting violence,” a spokesperson mentioned. “We suspended a user account following the investigation of reports of such activity, all of which violate our policies.”

According to Zubair — who helps police with the investigation — the web page included photographs of Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and distinguished Indian actress Shabana Azmi. Several journalists and activists within the nation additionally posted screenshots of the location after discovering their photographs listed subsequent to the phrases, “Your Bulli Bai of the Day is.”

The web page brought on outrage on Twitter over the weekend. Politicians from opposition events urged the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to take motion towards the web harassment and concentrating on of Muslim girls.

“To ‘sell’ someone online is a cybercrime and I call on the police to take immediate action,” tweeted Congress chief Shashi Tharoor. “The perpetrators deserve exemplary & condign punishment.”

On Sunday, India’s know-how minister Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted that the federal government “is working with police organizations in Delhi and Mumbai on this matter.”
“The entire website seems to have been designed with the intent of embarrassing and insulting Muslim women,” wrote journalist Ismat Ara in a grievance filed with Delhi Police cybersecurity authorities. Ara, who discovered her photograph on the location, tweeted a replica of her police grievance.
This is not the primary time Muslim girls in India have confronted this sort of on-line harassment. Last July, photographs of greater than 80 Muslim girls — together with journalists, writers and influencers — had been posted on a mock app referred to as Sulli Deals, a derogatory time period for Muslim girls usually utilized by right-wing Hindu males. Users had been supplied an opportunity to “buy” the ladies like commodities in an public sale on the location, which was additionally hosted on GitHub.

At that point, Muslim girls informed CNN that the web abuse they’re going through is indicative of the temper towards Muslims in India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist BJP got here to energy in 2014.

In latest years, reviews of anti-Muslim hate crimes have elevated, and a number of BJP-ruled states have handed laws that critics say has contributed to an increase in non secular polarization.

This weekend, a Twitter person Hiba Bég mentioned that her footage had been utilized in each cases. “I have censored myself, I hardly speak here anymore, but still, I am being sold online, I’m being made ‘deals’ out of,” she tweeted. “How many online deals will it take for us to see action?”

— Esha Mitra, Rhea Mogul and Swati Gupta contributed to this report.

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