#SulliDeals: Muslim Women In India Shocked To Find They Were Put Up For 'Auction' Online

While not real, despite offering right-wing Hindu men to buy a "Sulli" as they couldn't actually buy anyone on the app, the 'auction' had a specific purpose: to degrade and humiliate the women for their gender and religion.

Cover image via SAYS & @adabehindustan (Twitter)

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Over the week, hundreds of Muslim women in India woke up to learn that they have been put up for 'auction' online by unidentified men

The men created an app on GitHub, an open-source code hosting platform, and named it 'Sulli Deals'.

"Sulli" is a derogatory slang used by right-wing Hindu men in India to troll Muslim women ā€” particularly the outspoken ones on social media. They use "Sulla" for Muslim men.

The app, which took publicly available pictures, described the women as "deals of the day".

Among those who found they were being 'auctioned' or 'sold' on the now-defunct app included journalists, activists, and others who use their voices to speak out against misogyny and Islamophobia in India

One such woman, Fatima Khan, a journalist for an Indian online newspaper, took to her Twitter account to ask, "How is this acceptable? What will be the punishment, if any, meted out to the people who made this list? Muslim men are lynched, Muslim women are harassed and sold online. When will this end?"

Another woman, Hana Khan, a commercial pilot whose photo was taken from her Twitter account, shared that she only found out about being 'auctioned' when one of her friends alerted her about it.

"This app was running for 20 days and we didn't even know about it," BBC quoted Hana as saying, who added that seeing her name and photo on the app "sent chills down my spine".

She has since filed a first information report with the Noida police in Delhi.

"These repeat offences will not be taken sitting down. Do your worse. I will do mine," she shared.

While not real, despite offering men to buy a "Sulli" as they couldn't actually buy anyone on the app, the 'auction' had a specific purpose: to degrade and humiliate the women for their gender and religion

"They targeted us because we are women, we are Muslim and we are outspoken," a public health professional, who was one of the women being 'auctioned' on the app, told The Diplomat.

"I was enraged, how low can you stoop just because you hate us? It is plain Islamophobia. We were on the ground, we were working for the people and we were occupying space," she added.

Many others have had to deactivate their Twitter accounts as they faced further harassment and misogyny from the right-wing trolls, and a number of them have even asked the authorities to act.

Amidst complaints, GitHub responded by shutting the app down quickly.

Delhi police have also sent a notice to the source code depository platform asking it to share "relevant details" so it can investigate further, the experience has not been easy for the women to shake off.

One woman, Sania Ahmad, shared that she has spent two sleepless nights.

"To all my sisters who have suffered since last night, do not fear. Do not falter. We are in this together. And we will make it to the other side, unscathed, InShaAllah. Do not let anyone shame you or ridicule you. This is our collective fight and we will fight it together," Sania tweeted in support of others who were targetted.

SAYS was granted permission by the women whose tweets have been used in this story.

India's National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken cognisance of the matter and has sought a reply from the police by 12 July

NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to the police commissioner of Delhi.

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The case is similar to a Telegram group that was found to be spreading women's photos without their consent in Malaysia last year:

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