New Delhi: Over 250 alumni from prominent institutions like Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), Xavier School of Management (XLRI) and Delhi University have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, demanding strict and immediate action against those accused in the Bulli Bai and Sulli Deals apps cases. They also expressed solidarity with those targeted through the apps.
In the letter, the alumni expressed deep concern about the “constriction of the spaces for expression and participation of women, especially from minority groups, Dalit women and girls”.
“Women in India have never been more unsafe both in online and offline spaces. From physical harm to sexual violence to outright violation of dignity and rights in online spaces seems to have become commonplace enough for our political leaders to not notice anymore,” the letter read, highlighting the delayed response over these ‘auctioning sites’ for Muslim women.
“Added to this is the rising culture of hate and divisiveness in the country, which also affects women disproportionately. Incidents like Sulli Deals and Bulli Bai are manifestations of this culture that target women, minority women in these cases, for daring to have a voice of their own. Dalit women and girls have also been at the receiving end of violence in many spheres,” it added.
‘Silence of those at the helm’
Suggesting that “the silence of those at the helm” regarding such incidents indicates an apathy towards women’s safety and emboldens the perpetrators of these hate crimes, the alumni urged the leaders to take quick steps to bring justice to the wronged women.
“We are writing this open letter expressing our solidarity with women and girls who have to face this violence,” the letter said.
They urged that the makers of these apps be brought to justice, demanded condemnation of such hate-driven actions/speeches by the government and urged the current leadership to work with IT and media companies to ensure accountability in keeping such channels safe for women.
They further urged the government to set up school curriculums that engage young girls and boys around issues of positive masculinity, gender, and gender socialisation from an early age.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)