Delhi court rejects bail for Niraj Bishnoi

A Delhi court on Friday denied bail for Neeraj Bishnoi, who is one of the defendants in a case involving an app on which more than 100 prominent Muslim women were listed for an “online auction”, Bar and Bench reported. The court said Bishnoi’s act was an “affront to the dignity of women of a particular community and to the communal harmony of society.”

Bishnoi and three others were accused of taking photos of the Muslim women from their social media accounts without permission and posting them on the app to ‘sell’ them as ‘Bulli Bai’ from the day. “Buli” is a pejorative way of referring to Muslim women.

The app, which was hosted on the GitHub web platform, has since been taken down following outrage on social media.

Police objected to Bishnoi’s bail saying they were looking into the digital equipment used to create the application, The Indian Express reported. They also said that he was involved in several cases registered in different police stations in India.

The court said that since the allegation was material and the investigation is still ongoing, there is no basis for bail at this stage. Metropolitan Chief Magistrate Pankaj Sharma said the the app was a “smear campaign» against women, Live Act reported.

“The facts reveal that the accused created [an] application where women journalists, celebrities from [a] A particular community, famous on social media, is being targeted, cast in a bad light for the purpose of insulting and humiliating,” the court order said.

Bishnoi, a resident of Assam, is an engineering student. Earlier this month he was taken into custody for seven days.

He was prosecuted under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 354A (sexual harassment) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult a woman’s modesty).

“Online auction” of women

The “Bulli Bai” app was the second attempt in recent months to harass Muslim women in the country by “auctioning” them online.

In July, an app called “Sulli Deals” posted hundreds of images of Muslim women and described them as “deals of the day”.

Noida and Delhi police had registered separate cases in relation to the ‘Sulli Deals’ app but made no arrests until the ‘Bulli Bai’ case came to light earlier in January.

On January 9, Delhi police arrested Aumkareshwar Thakur, who allegedly created the “Sulli Deals” app. He is the first person to be arrested in this case.

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