The website was taken down after many women and other social media users reported and flagged the site, although screenshots of the photos of the women were circulated.
“For a while, I didn’t really understand what had happened. It was almost like this paralysis that went through my body. Just seeing your name and face online… It was horrible and deeply hurtful, ”Najma (name changed) told TNM. On July 4, many Muslim women like Najma discovered that their photos were posted on a website called “Sulli Deals”. “Sulli” is a derogatory word used to refer to Muslim women. The website targeted Muslim women, with the intention of “putting them up for auction.”
The open-source website, on the Github web platform, allegedly selected images of women with their name and Twitter ID – without their consent – and gave the user the option to share the image with the headline: “Your sulli deal of the day is …” The website was taken down after many women and other social media users reported and flagged the site.
However, before the website was taken down, many social media users had already posted screenshots of the website and shared them, with some using it to alert affected women. As many women reported the crime, several offered their support while many men offered unsolicited advice, asking women and feminists to stop posting photos online because “things will never change”.
The incident comes days before Eid-al-Adha, which is scheduled to take place on July 21. In May 2021, during the time of Ed-al-Fitr, a similar controversy erupted when Indian social media accounts “auctioned” women online based on their Eid. photos and made obscene comments against them. A “Liberal Doge” YouTube channel streamed the footage and made extremely misogynistic comments about it. The victims included Indian and Pakistani women. The YouTube description of the video read, in Hindi, “Today we are going to hunt down women with our eyes filled with lust.” Several people took to social media to expose the incident, and some women also filed complaints against the YouTube channel with the police. As a result, some of the profiles, who posted the photos of the women, deleted the posts or locked their accounts.
“I don’t think people who do this need a reason to objectify and harass these women,” Najma said.
Someone created a ‘Sulli Deals’ app that has the Twitter accounts of so many Muslim girls. You are one click away from finding the girl like your business.
This app has our photos and our names.
The motto of the app says: “open source community driven project” pic.twitter.com/Rc2vyynRMy
– K (@madeforbrettLEE) July 4, 2021
The sanghis have found a new way to harass Muslim women online. They have created a website that randomly selects images of Muslim girls and offers the option to post them on Twitter with a poster titled “Your sulli deal of Day” cc: @Cyberdost pic.twitter.com/9KIWwEko7v
– Adab e Hindustan ❤️ (@adabehindustan) July 4, 2021
It is not clear whether these women intend to file a complaint against the police. However, women who have been affected by such cases of online harassment can take legal action. While this can be a legally delicate scenario, some of the legal provisions relating to online harassment include Section 66E (punishment for invasion of privacy) and Section 67 (punishment for posting or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. ) and in the Information Technology Act, 2000, as well as other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).