Multiple arrests have been done by the Mumbai and Delhi police, respectively, in the matter of alleged lewd and communal comments passed on a clubhouse room according to reports. On 22nd January, the Hindustan Times reports, the Delhi police arrested a 18-year-old from Lucknow for allegedly creating the room where the comments were made.
Meanwhile, on 21st January the Mumbai police arrested three men- aged 18, 21, and 22 – from Haryana according to The Print. The three were allegedly involved in speaking or moderating the room and were sent to police custody by the a Magistrate Court on 22nd January.
According to The New Indian Express (TNIE), the Delhi police has also written to Google and Clubhouse for information on the matter. Atleast two FIRs were filed last week in the matter by the Delhi and Mumbai police respectively.
Reportedly, the clubhouse chats which took place on 17th January saw 18-20 participants comparing Muslim and Hindu women by discussing the former’s private parts, converting them,etc. Beyond generating widespread outrage, including a call-to-action letter by the Delhi Commission of Women to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Delhi) , the incident became the third one in recent times where muslim women were harassed online. Two apps created on GitHub had earlier virtually auctioned Muslim women online.
Police action on the case so far
Accrording to TNIE’s report, the Delhi Police reportedly wrote to Google for information on Clubhouse and why it hosts the app on the playstore and Clubhouse for details on the organisers of the chat.
Preliminary investigation has reportedly found that the suspects used aliases and fake accounts, belonged to both Hindu and Muslim communities, and that some of them may have also modulated and edited their voices in order to erase any digital footprint.
Meanwhile on 19th January a second FIR in the case was registered by Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex Crime Cell based on a 33-year-old woman’s complaint. The FIR was reportedly registered under sections:
- 153A – Promoting enmity between different religious groups
- 295A – Insulting religious beliefs
- 354D – Stalking
- 67, Information Technology Act 2000- publishing or transmission of obscene material in electronic form.
Delhi DCP to update Delhi Commission for Women today
Swati Maliwal, the DCW chair had written to DCP K.P.S Malhotra on January 18th noting that the matter was ‘very serious’ and merited action and asking him to provide her with updates on the investigation by 24th January. Today, Malhotra is expected to provide Maliwal with the following information:
- Copy of the FIR
- Details of the accused identified and arrested
- The reasons if no arrests have been made
- Detailed action taken report on the matter
Taking suo-moto cognisance of the matter, the cyber crime cell of the Delhi police had registered an FIR on the matter on 19th January. “Our social media cell had done the ground work and recommended filing an FIR,” Malhotra had then told MediaNama. The FIR was filed under Indian Penal Code sections 153A, 295A, and 354A – Assault of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.
Earlier cases of auctioning apps
Earlier this month, an app called ‘Bulli Bai’ had emerged on open-source code repository GitHub. The app was similar to the one that emerged earlier called ‘Sulli Deals’ – both offered prominent muslim journalists, activists, etc. as ‘Sulli Deal’ or ‘Bulli Bai of the Day’. The terms are offensive for muslim women.
Five people were arrested by the Mumbai and Delhi police with relation to the Bulli Bai app, after 4 FIRs were filed with Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Mumbai and Delhi police.
In an interview with MediaNama, Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said that the Bulli Bai app emerged only due to police’s inaction on the earlier auctioning app (where no arrests were made). Chaturvedi, who had written to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw after the Sulli Deals app had emerged, further said that although the IT Minister had promised her to work on it however ‘is words and actions did not match’.
- Delhi Police investigates Clubhouse chat for vulgar remarks against Muslim women
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