The online “sale” of hundreds of Muslim women on an application hosted on the Github platform is shocking and scandalous. The government must take urgent and exemplary action against the perpetrators. Merely removing the app, without imposing a fee for such criminal behavior, is only an encouragement of impunity. Indeed, this is not the first case of targeted harassment of Muslim women, especially those who assert themselves on social networks. In June of last year, a similar app ran an “auction” of women from the community, with language that dehumanized them into “business of the day.” Little progress was made in the police investigation of those who created this app, apparently due to the lack of adequate response from Github, which is not present in India. Certainly, the anonymity of the Internet allows criminals to hide their digital fingerprints and identity. But the government and its investigative agencies have the expertise and resources to track down violators, and the leverage to force multinational social media companies to comply when they choose – as has been seen. in the Centre’s relations with Twitter, for example.
To regard this as a problem of freedom of expression would be willful blindness. From falsifying photographs of women to obscene comments to hissing dogs together, they turn into criminality and sexual harassment in a way that calls on cybercrime cells to pay urgent attention. All over the world, women experience the Internet as a place of hostility and abuse, a place that punishes them for saying what they think or telling their stories, that seeks to push them into their corner by humiliating and shaming them. sexualizing their body. But the “auction” of women from the minority community is not just standard misogyny. In a climate of majority excess, attacks on minorities and open and unpunished calls for mass murder, the choreographed humiliation of Muslim women bends to the worst community trends and fantasies of violence. He seeks to expel an already besieged community from the digital public square by attacking the dignity of its women.
So it is even more important that the government draw the red lines and send a strong and clear message. Narendra Modi government’s stated commitment to empower women has led it to design programs such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. She has often praised herself for championing the rights of Muslim women by brandishing legislation against triple talaq. Now he cannot afford to be slow to follow up on such a blatant violation. The Center has often armed the IPC to prosecute dissidents and activists. This time, he is to use online push platforms to aid in the investigation and identify offenders. There must be firm and visible action against this criminal bigotry and misogyny.