The alleged creators of the derogatory “Sulli Deals” and “Bulli Bai” apps, which auctioned off Muslim women, have been granted bail. A Delhi court granted them bail on the grounds that they are first-time offenders and that their continued incarceration would be detrimental to their overall well-being.
Meanwhile, a Delhi Court denied activist Umar Khalid’s bail application. This raises whether the judiciary’s approach to the issue of bail is based on a selective principle and ad hocism. Furthermore, calls into question if the law is partial in its treatment of perpetrators of violence against women.
Fatima Khan, a journalist who has been subjected to virtual sexual abuse from Sulli Deals, told Mojo Story that even after the app’s creators were arrested, there were twitter spaces and clubhouse spaces where Muslim women and their private parts were discussed at length, “That is how normalised virtual harassment and abuse is.”
“Someone there recognised me; my first instinct was that he had seen my pictures being sold online,” she recalled a week after the Bully Bai deals occurred when she was out in UP for election coverage. That, however, was not the case.”
Fatima stated that she has felt unsafe since the day the Sulli deal incident occurred, even though there was no arrest at the time, “With this bail, it puts my, and several other people who occupy public spaces, physical safety and mental health at risk.”
She agreed that online harassment is frequently trivialized in our country, saying, “Some people say that’s just an online sale, not an actual case of sexual harassment, which is a mentality. When you trivialize in your language how you talk about a crime like this, it sends out a very negative message at large.”
Neha Singhal, a senior resident fellow at the Vidhi Center for Legal Policy, believes that everyone should be subject to the same bail principle, “Bailing happens quite easily in violence against women. In this case, the offences they are charged with are all minor offences; the most serious offence here is stalking, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. There is a legal precedent regarding bail that states that if you are charged with a minor offence, you are more likely to be granted bail than if you are charged with a serious offence that could result in death or life imprisonment, which is what Umar Khalid has been charged with.”
However, she said that it is disappointing that we choose to be kind to some while choosing to ignore others, “the fact that we are being kind to those who commit violence against women is very worrisome.”