The Delhi police on Wednesday registered an FIR against unidentified people for making obscene sexual remarks against Muslim women on the voice-based social network Clubhouse. According to reports, they have written to Clubhouse app seeking details about the organiser of the alleged audio chat group.
Earlier, the Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) had issued a notice to the cyber crime cell of Delhi police, directing them to register an FIR in the matter.
The case has been registered under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), and 354A (punishment for sexual harassment).
The audio conversation on the topic 'Muslim gals are more beautiful than Hindu gals' on Clubhouse was shared on Twitter and the DCW chief Swati Maliwal was tagged in it. In the audio, derogatory and obscene remarks against Muslim girls and women can be heard.
The DCW took suo-moto cognizance of the matter and directed the cyber crime cell of Delhi police to file an FIR and send details of the accused identified and arrested in the matter. It also asked the police to send in a report on the action taken to the commission not later than January 24.
This comes just days after the incident where hundreds of Muslim women including journalists and activists were targeted and 'auctioned' on an app called Bulli Bai. Photos of the women were picked up from their social media accounts and uploaded on the app without their permission. Some photos even morphed. A similar incident happened in July last year when an app called Sulli Deals where Muslim women with strong presence on social media were were put on 'auction'. Bulli Bai app creator Niraj Bishnoi and three other accused were arrested in both the cases recently.
Sharing the copy of the notice issued to Delhi police, Maliwal tweeted, "First Sulli Deals, then Bulli Bai and now such obscene sexual comments against Muslim women on this Clubhouse app! For how long will this continue? I have issued a notice to the Delhi police, directing them to file an FIR and arrest the accused as soon as possible."
Last year, in June, BOOM explored how Clubhouse became a space for polarisation. After listening to weeks of conversations in multiple rooms, we found out that while it took sometime for Clubhouse to catch up to India, it is reminiscent of primetime television. Between 8 pm and 11 pm, the hallway is crowded with clubs on 'Right Wing Extremism and Toxic Misogyny', 'Ayurveda, the magical cure', 'women patriarchy in Islam' and 'Bhaarat ki Baat' to name a few. It has become a space for Indians to express the beliefs they are often unable to on other social media platforms and find others with the same thoughts. In a way, it has also become 'echo chambers'.