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What is the ‘Sulli Deals’ hate crime?

TW: Online harassment of Muslim women

“I was numb when I saw the screenshots. I could not bear opening the link to see pictures of me being sold,” says Tabinda, a 22-year-old MBA student and activist.

Like Tabinda, about 90 Muslim women’s photos were auctioned as ‘Deals of the Day’ on an online app called ‘Sulli Deals’. ‘Sulli’ is a derogatory term used to address Muslim women by communally divisive groups. Interestingly, Tabinda notices that the women targeted by this app were outspoken Muslim women who were artists, journalists, researchers and activists, among others. Hana Khan, a commercial pilot whose pictures were also shared on this app, says, “People were bidding five rupees and 10 rupees, they were rating women based on their body parts and describing sexual acts and threatening rape.”

While this app has since been taken down, screenshots of the photos are still available on the internet. Muslim women have been traumatised by the incident. Many have chosen to be outspoken and fight this misogyny. Many are rightfully concerned for their safety and their family’s safety. Meanwhile, the details of the owner(s) of the Sulli Deals app are still not revealed.

We demand that:

  • The Delhi Police follow due process and put pressure on Github to cooperate with its investigation
  • Github cooperate with the police by providing them with the relevant information of the perpetrators that they have access to
  • The National Commission for Women recognise this not just as a cybercrime but also as a hate crime due to its communal nature.

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