At least 83 Muslim Indian women were symbolically auctioned online through an app and website called Sulli Deals. The creators of the portals used photos found on the web to present these women and offer them for sale. The aim is to humiliate and reduce to commodity Muslim women of importance in Indian society, the BBC reports.
Sulli is also an insult used by far-right Hindus to refer to Muslim women in India. “I am a Muslim woman that you can see and hear. And they want to silence us, ”testified Hana Khan, an airline pilot who was virtually put up for sale. She said she was alerted by a friend’s tweet. “They took my picture on Twitter and […] my username, ”explained the captain.
Several complaints filed
Hana Khan confided that she had a “cold in the back” when she understood that “this app had been working for twenty days and we didn’t even know it”. Among the women auctioned off are researchers, journalists, activists and artists. Some have since deleted their social media accounts. “No matter how strong you are, when your photo and personal information is made public, it’s scary,” one victim commented.
Others have chosen to evoke on the web the harassment they have suffered. Several complaints were also filed, including one by Hana Khan. ” I am determined […] to make these cowards pay for what they did, she wrote on Twitter on July 7. […] I am a targeted apolitical account because of my religion and my gender ”. GitHub, host of Sulli Deals, quickly suspended the app after the first reports.