“I have been targeted because of my work, my gender and my religion

On Thursday, Delhi based poet and Muslim woman activist Nabiya Khan has shared a brief but strong statement on action against “Sulli deals.” Photographs of more than 80 other Muslim women, including students, activists and journalists, had been uploaded by an unidentified Hindutva group on an application “Sulli Deals” using GitHub on 4 July with the sole purpose to auction off the Muslim women. Nabiya Khan’s profile was also up for virtual auction on “Sulli deals”. After days of outrage largely by Muslim women online against this hate crime, the Delhi Police registered a police complaint following the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and the National Commission for Women called for an investigation into the matter. Read Nabiya Khan’s statement here:

I am Nabiya Khan. I am history major, a poet, and an activist. Through my poetry, I voice my opinions on social, and political issues.

A Website/App called ‘Sulli Deals’ circulated the photographs and Twitter handles of over 80 Muslim women, presented as ‘Sulli deals of the day’. Muslim women were degraded and presented as ‘deals’ on the internet, to be traded and purchased as sexual objects. On the night of 04.07.2021, I learnt that my photograph with a link to my Twitter handle has also been circulated on the website. I felt absolutely powerless, and had sleepless nights.

The people who created this website, specifically targeted Muslim women like me, who widely shared and express views and opinions on social media. This is a hate crime which targets Muslim women to silence our voice and deter our political participation. We were attacked and sexually harassed on the basis of our religion and gender. 

This is not the first time Muslim women have been sexually commodified and auctioned on the internet. This is part of a larger hate campaign, carried out with impunity in order to dehumanize us.

The people who created this website have threatened to re-circulate our photographs and auction us. After posting about the creation of this website, I have received messages containing sexually explicit language, gestures, threats of sexual attacks and physical violence. I have been targeted because of my work, my gender and my religion. 

The Delhi Police and Cyber Cell must investigate promptly and effectively so that the people behind the creation of this website are held accountable and prevented from repeating such acts in the future. In order that the perpetrators of these acts are brought to justice, I have engaged Adv. Vrinda Grover as my legal counsel. On 12.07.2021, I filed a complaint seeking registration of an FIR under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, The Information Technology Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

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