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Masterminds behind ‘S**li Deals’ and ‘B**li Bai’ apps granted bail

Delhi court cites humanitarian grounds such as first-time offence and young age

Sabrangindia 29 Mar 2022

Bail Granted

On March 28, 2022, Dr. Pankaj Sharma, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) of Patiala House Court in Delhi granted bail to Aumkareshwar Thakur (26), the alleged creator of ‘S**li Deals’ app as well as Neeraj Bishnoi (21), alleged creator of ‘B**li Bai’ app.After bail had been first refused in January 2021, chargesheets had been filed against the ‘prime accused’ Aumkareshwar Thakur and Neeraj Bishnoi inearly March 2021. Both accused have been charged with allegedly running the "S**li Deals and B**li Bai mobile apps to auction Muslim women in the virtual space."

As reported by Deccan Heraldon March 29, 2022, the Court noted that merely because replies from different intermediaries and Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) are awaited, it is not sufficient reason to deny bail to the accused as he is in not in a position to influence FSL result or replies.

In addition to that CMM Sharma reportedlyadded, “Accused is a first-time offender and a young person as such prolonged incarceration would be detrimental to his overall well-being. Accused has roots in the society community and he is not a flight risk. The trial would take considerable time to save as such no fruitful purpose would be served by keeping him detained any further.”

As reported by the Quint, the Court imposed conditions on the bail and ordered the accused:

  1. Not to contact or influence any witness in the case;
  2. Not to keep their mobile phones switched on at all times;
  3. Provide their current location if asked by the Investigation Officer (IO);
  4. Not allowed to leave the country;                    
  5. Appear before the court whenever ordered to do so

In July 2021, nearly 80 Muslim women were targeted and put up “for sale” on the S**li Deals app, and in January 2022, over 100 Muslim women were targeted using the B**li Bai app. Both B**li and S**li are sexually derogatory words used to target Muslim women. In both cases, there was no real sale of any kind - the purpose wass to degrade and humiliate Muslim women by sharing their personal images, and also to harass them by sharing their personal information.

While Delhi police arrested Neeraj Bishnoi from Jorhat, Assam on January 6, 2022, Aumkareshwar Thakurwas arrested from Indore, Madhya Pradesh on January 9, 2022. Arrests were also made by Mumbai Police around same time wherein Vishal Kumar aka Vishal Jha a 21-year-old from Bengaluru, Karnataka, 21-year-old Mayank Rawal and 18-year-old Shweta Singh, both from Uttarakhand. The FIR in the case was registered under sections 153A, 153 B, 295A, 354D, 509, 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with Section 67 Information Technology Act.

As reported by Sabrangindia, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Dr Fernand de Varennes, has taken note of the vile anti Muslim 'S**li Deals' as hate speech. Varennes said such harassment of Muslim women in India must be condemned and the law should act against it “as soon as they occur”. He added that “all Human Rights of minorities need to be fully & equally protected.” 

What’s also important to note here is that in January 2022, an ecosystem of TRADs had come to light when the Delhi police revealed that both Aumkareshwar Thakur and Niraj Bishnoi were members of TRAD groups online. According to the police, Thakur had joined a TRAD group named Tradmahasabha using the @gangescion Twitter handle. He reportedly told the police that the idea to target and defame Muslim women came from discussions among members of this group. However, he had eventually deleted his online footprint.

TRADs are Hate groups of people identifying themselves as “Traditionalists” or “Trads”. The name stems from the fact that these groups are operating predominantly on Telegram, Reddit, 4chan and Discord (thus TR4D or TRAD). They run an elaborate social media campaign to popularise these apps, trolling anyone who does not agree with their extreme right-wing supremacist views. Moreover, they claim to be preserving “tradition” by targeting those who speak up against it and thereby targeting outspoken Muslim women whose images, names and Twitter handles were misused by the said auction apps.

In January 2022, fifty organisations including the Citizens for Justice and Peace (cjp.org.in) had written to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, urging him to ensure that the real masterminds behind both the Su**I Deals and Bu**I Bai Apps are investigated and prosecuted. Other organisations included: Forum Against Oppression of Women (FAOW), Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (Mumbai), Justice Coalition of Religious (West India), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) – Maharashtra, Bebaak Collective, Haq Hai, Parcham Collective, and many others. The Mumbai police has since filed a chargesheet in the case.

Related:

Has inaction prompted another Muslim women’s auction on the internet?
'S**li Deals' a form of Hate Speech: UN Special Rapporteur
Apps auctioning women fuelled by a TRADition of Hate
Bulli Bai case: Are arrests enough to quell the storm?
Three arrested in Bulli Bai case
Being a Muslim woman in India: A story

Masterminds behind ‘S**li Deals’ and ‘B**li Bai’ apps granted bail

Delhi court cites humanitarian grounds such as first-time offence and young age

Bail Granted

On March 28, 2022, Dr. Pankaj Sharma, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) of Patiala House Court in Delhi granted bail to Aumkareshwar Thakur (26), the alleged creator of ‘S**li Deals’ app as well as Neeraj Bishnoi (21), alleged creator of ‘B**li Bai’ app.After bail had been first refused in January 2021, chargesheets had been filed against the ‘prime accused’ Aumkareshwar Thakur and Neeraj Bishnoi inearly March 2021. Both accused have been charged with allegedly running the "S**li Deals and B**li Bai mobile apps to auction Muslim women in the virtual space."

As reported by Deccan Heraldon March 29, 2022, the Court noted that merely because replies from different intermediaries and Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) are awaited, it is not sufficient reason to deny bail to the accused as he is in not in a position to influence FSL result or replies.

In addition to that CMM Sharma reportedlyadded, “Accused is a first-time offender and a young person as such prolonged incarceration would be detrimental to his overall well-being. Accused has roots in the society community and he is not a flight risk. The trial would take considerable time to save as such no fruitful purpose would be served by keeping him detained any further.”

As reported by the Quint, the Court imposed conditions on the bail and ordered the accused:

  1. Not to contact or influence any witness in the case;
  2. Not to keep their mobile phones switched on at all times;
  3. Provide their current location if asked by the Investigation Officer (IO);
  4. Not allowed to leave the country;                    
  5. Appear before the court whenever ordered to do so

In July 2021, nearly 80 Muslim women were targeted and put up “for sale” on the S**li Deals app, and in January 2022, over 100 Muslim women were targeted using the B**li Bai app. Both B**li and S**li are sexually derogatory words used to target Muslim women. In both cases, there was no real sale of any kind - the purpose wass to degrade and humiliate Muslim women by sharing their personal images, and also to harass them by sharing their personal information.

While Delhi police arrested Neeraj Bishnoi from Jorhat, Assam on January 6, 2022, Aumkareshwar Thakurwas arrested from Indore, Madhya Pradesh on January 9, 2022. Arrests were also made by Mumbai Police around same time wherein Vishal Kumar aka Vishal Jha a 21-year-old from Bengaluru, Karnataka, 21-year-old Mayank Rawal and 18-year-old Shweta Singh, both from Uttarakhand. The FIR in the case was registered under sections 153A, 153 B, 295A, 354D, 509, 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with Section 67 Information Technology Act.

As reported by Sabrangindia, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Dr Fernand de Varennes, has taken note of the vile anti Muslim 'S**li Deals' as hate speech. Varennes said such harassment of Muslim women in India must be condemned and the law should act against it “as soon as they occur”. He added that “all Human Rights of minorities need to be fully & equally protected.” 

What’s also important to note here is that in January 2022, an ecosystem of TRADs had come to light when the Delhi police revealed that both Aumkareshwar Thakur and Niraj Bishnoi were members of TRAD groups online. According to the police, Thakur had joined a TRAD group named Tradmahasabha using the @gangescion Twitter handle. He reportedly told the police that the idea to target and defame Muslim women came from discussions among members of this group. However, he had eventually deleted his online footprint.

TRADs are Hate groups of people identifying themselves as “Traditionalists” or “Trads”. The name stems from the fact that these groups are operating predominantly on Telegram, Reddit, 4chan and Discord (thus TR4D or TRAD). They run an elaborate social media campaign to popularise these apps, trolling anyone who does not agree with their extreme right-wing supremacist views. Moreover, they claim to be preserving “tradition” by targeting those who speak up against it and thereby targeting outspoken Muslim women whose images, names and Twitter handles were misused by the said auction apps.

In January 2022, fifty organisations including the Citizens for Justice and Peace (cjp.org.in) had written to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, urging him to ensure that the real masterminds behind both the Su**I Deals and Bu**I Bai Apps are investigated and prosecuted. Other organisations included: Forum Against Oppression of Women (FAOW), Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (Mumbai), Justice Coalition of Religious (West India), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) – Maharashtra, Bebaak Collective, Haq Hai, Parcham Collective, and many others. The Mumbai police has since filed a chargesheet in the case.

Related:

Has inaction prompted another Muslim women’s auction on the internet?
'S**li Deals' a form of Hate Speech: UN Special Rapporteur
Apps auctioning women fuelled by a TRADition of Hate
Bulli Bai case: Are arrests enough to quell the storm?
Three arrested in Bulli Bai case
Being a Muslim woman in India: A story

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