"It is the misfortune of Muslim women that one can call real misfortune: any one can make theories about their dress. Any one can dig out their photos from the internet, make an app showing Muslim women for sale and upload it. No one will dare to question. If any one reacts, no media will come forward to publish it or make a story out of it. The other day, when Muslim girls held a press meet, only 'Madhyamam' carried it. It appears even social media does not see it as a big deal. Every one seems to be interested in being owners of Muslim women". This quote is from a Facebook post by actor and activist Lali PM, blaming the way Kerala's media had treated a news conference held recently at Kozhikode. At the presser, a few Keralite female students reacted against the Bulli bai app which had uploaded the photos of prominent Muslim women of the country as 'For Sale'. They were among the names in the app. Several Muslim activists and democratic advocates across the country had raised voice against the Bulli bai app. Mumbai police registered a case about this and arrested a few. Some from Kerala including Ladeeda Farzana, a student in Delhi who was in the forefront of the anti-citizenship law protest, Aysha Renna and Nida Parveen were among those put up 'for sale'in the controversial app. Naturally a presser convened by them should have made news; and any one is free to highlight it when it fails to hit headlines. But the twist of the story would get unwound only when one probes into the reason why the post is being reproduced here.
The screenshot of the Facebook of Lali PM was shared in WhatsApp by a youth named Javid EP from Sreekantapuram in Kerala's Kannu District. The police, which sprung into action, has charged a case against the youth under Section 153 of IPC. The discovery of the police is that the said post was a lethal act that could cause rioting in the country. In fact, there is no big point in asking logical questions about Kerala police's series of cases charged over the last few weeks under the pretext of action against hate propaganda. A case in point: there was a speech recently in Alappuzha with spuriously communal content made by Hindu Aikya Vedi leader Valsan Thillankeri. No case was filed aainst him on account of that speech. But a case was filed against one Mohammed Rifa from Kuthuparamba, Kannur district for sharing that speech with a critical footnote. Such bizarre actions have been repeating each day in recent times. When questions are asked about these instances, the stock reply of Kerala's ruling CPIM and the chief minister who handles the home ministry, is that they are isolated instances. And we are living in a wonderland where such 'isolated events' are repeated several times every day.
And there are more weighty matters about putting Muslim women up for sale. The 'for sale' ad had appeared last year through the 'Sulli Dals' app. One of the women whose name appeared in it, Ladeeda Farzana had lodged a complaint with Kannur police requesting action against it. But the police functioning under the Left Democratic Front of Kerala - which has an avowedly uncompromising stance against communalism and hate propaganda - did not show even the elementary courtesy of calling the complainant to ask for details. Following this, Ladeeda sent complaints to the chief minister, the DGP and the state Women's Commission, but all of no avail. When this time Bulli bai app came into the picture, it was the Mumbai police that took action setting an example for the whole country. Within a week, the police there succeeded in catching the culprits from Uttarakhand and Karnataka, charged cases and put them in jail. When the police from the Shiv Sena-ruled state of Maharashtra arrest those behind the Bulli bai app, Kerala's police have been busy arresting public activists who criticised the provocative app. In addition to being a placation of the sangh parivar, it is a clear case of being anti-Muslim too. In a way it is a continuation of the same strategy followed by a state minister who visited the Bishop of Palai at his residence, after he had made a provocative coinage of 'narcotic jihad', and expressed solidarity with the Bishop. Now, the number of people booked for making Facebook posts criticising the RSS, has crossed two dozen in two weeks. Some of them were arrested and detained. Criticizing RSS and Buli bai has started constituting criminal offence in Kerala. It is a pity that still those at the helm in the state don't feel any qualms about walking around with claims of being secular leftists!