Archie Qureshi revealed that he was being sold at auction through an app called “Bulli Bai” in India, as many Muslim women and girls found their photos in the app called “for sale”.
Despite numerous criticisms that contributed to the deletion of the application, threats against Quresh, who works in the profession of journalist, told VOA: “I am always attacked on social networks if I publish a tweet or post criticizing the ruling regime. . ”
She adds that her work as a journalist requires her to talk about social and political issues related to India, but her profession is becoming more difficult and dangerous day by day.
“I realized that they should not be silent, they want to see this, they want to silence the voices of Muslim women,” the journalist told the American website.
But Qureshi is not the only one, as Reuters reported, in January this year, that many women discovered the presence of their photos in the “Bulli Bai” application, so another similar application appeared a few months after the first one was canceled.
“Auction for the sale of Muslim women” .. Technology contributes to the painful oppression of women
Months after deleting an app “selling Muslim women” in India, a similar app appeared on New Year’s Day but was blocked by authorities.
An Indian pilot, Hana Khan, complained to Reuters that she was surprised about six months ago by her photo on the “Women’s Auction” app, before the app was removed quickly, without imposing any penalties on anyone.
These applications have included activists, journalists, actresses, and even Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.
This week, independent UN-appointed human rights experts issued a statement calling on Indian authorities to stop systematically harassing a prominent Indian Muslim journalist.
“The Indian authorities must urgently and thoroughly investigate the sectarian and cyber-attacks on the Internet against journalist Rana Ayyub and put an end to the judicial harassment against her immediately,” the statement said.
Ayoub has been targeted for her ongoing reporting on women’s rights, government accountability and the status of religious minorities in India.
Written by Rana Ayoub Tweet Tuesday: “They describe our presence, our reporting and our opinions as small but unfolding across all of their favorite broadcasters, mainstream shows, Twitter trends, right-wing ecosystems, propaganda sites and leaders to defend herself against a female journalist. “
They call our existence, our reportage, our opinions as irrelevant, but highlight all their favorite anchors, mainstream shows, Twitter trends, right-wing ecosystems, propaganda websites, and executives for t ‘was defended against a journalist. I have to admit she is very flattering.
– Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) February 22, 2022
persecution of the media
In recent years, India has been ranked as one of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world for journalists. Of the 27 journalists killed worldwide in 2021, 5 deaths were documented in India, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Despite its secular and democratic status, India ranks 142nd, after Myanmar and Pakistan, in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2021.
“Since the general elections in the spring of 2019, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi won by an overwhelming majority, pressure on the media has increased to adhere to the line of the Hindu nationalist government,” Reporters limitless. tha.
VOA notes that in addition to coping with increased public harassment, Muslim journalists, especially women, are subject to discrimination in their workplaces.
“Even within the major Indian media companies, there is a kind of ceiling for many Muslim journalists … they have been discriminated against in many of the major publications,” CPJ Stephen Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, told.
The dangers facing a free media in India also undermine the country’s democratic institutions, Butler adds: “You can not have democracy without freedom of the press.”
the prohibition of hijab
A new law banning Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in educational centers led to protests and the closure of schools in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Jaishri Bagoria, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, confirmed to the US website that the headscarf ban “is the latest example of the Indian authorities’ increasing efforts to marginalize Muslims and expose them to an escalation of violence.”
For journalist Qureshi, the fight for the hijab is not just religious, and she tells VOA: “Covered Muslim women are fighting for their constitutional rights, rights that have been taken away in a democratic country.”
While Modi has not publicly commented on his party’s policies regarding Indian Muslims, he claimed at a campaign rally this month that he has the blessing of Muslim women.
Modi was quoted by Indian media as saying: “We liberated Muslim sisters from the tyranny of triple divorce. And when Muslim sisters began to publicly support the BJP, these voting promoters became uncomfortable. They are trying to deter girls. “Muslims stand up. The government stands with Muslim women.”