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Bulli Bai app case: Youngsters were consumed by hatred due to self-radicalisation

Updated on: 11 January,2022 07:49 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Citing the Bulli Bai and Sulli Deals cases, police say it is extremely worrying that youngsters develop such a ‘philosophy’ of their own, due to little parental control on the social media

Bulli Bai app case: Youngsters were consumed by hatred due to self-radicalisation

The police have found that the mastermind behind Sulli Deals, Aumkareshwar Thakur, and Bulli Bai app mastermind Neeraj Bishnoi, were part of a TRAD group where hatred for a particular community was discussed

The youngsters behind the apps to 'auction' women were consumed by hatred for a particular community. The police say it is  worrisome that kids at this age have a 'philosophy' of their own, because of less parental control on what they do on social media. Experts also feel this is not restricted to social media but has spilled over onto other social platforms.

The Bulli Bai app case has raised serious concerns about teenagers' access to social media. "Our action is towards law enforcement but the parents and society’s action has to be towards prevention of such incidents. They have to see what their kids are doing on social media," Said KPS Malhotra, DCP IFSO Unit of Special Cell, Delhi police.

KPS Malhotra, Special Cell, Delhi policeKPS Malhotra, Special Cell, Delhi police

During the course of investigation, the Special Cell found that these youngsters developed the kind of hatred they did against a particular community because of the kind of content they had been consuming for past few months on social media, especially on a TRAD group called Tread-Mahasabha. It was deactivated in May 2021 after the registration of an FIR in July last year in connection with Sulli Deals.

Group consists of traditionalists

The police have found that the master mind behind Sulli Deals, Aumkareshwar Thakur, and Bulli Bai App mastermind Neeraj Bishnoi, were part of a TRAD group where hatred for Muslims was discussed. "We decoded the word and found that the TRAD group consists of traditionalists. They are conservative and don't want changes in life and they want the world to be that way. I think this is their self-created philosophy, but the point is, youth so young are being involved in such philosophies. Somewhere they also feel this social compulsion that they have to profess such a thought process and support such ideology," Malhotra added.

Both the accused have confessed that there was a TRAD group on Twitter where discussions targetted Muslim women and they got the idea of creating such an app to auction Muslim women there. The cops have found that Thakur joined the Treadmahasabha in January 2020 using fake Twitter handles and in July Bishnoi joined it. According to Delhi police, TRAD is a short for traditionalist who discuss as purists, certain ideologies on Twitter. “I think parents and others have to see what their kids are doing, because most of the people arrested in such cases are between 20-30 years which is quite worrisome," Malhotra added.

The Special Cell is looking for more TRAD groups on Twitter and other social media platforms where content of such hatred is shared about a particular community and teenagers are getting radicalised and start following the ideology without realising its impact.

The investigation has also revealed that the youngsters have not been radicalised by others, for instance terror organisations who target certain people and then contact them through social media to radicalise them in the name of religion. "This is self-radicalisation where kids are just sitting and consuming a lot of information from the Internet. The parents need to look after them specially if they are spending so much time on the Internet and there is behavioural change," an officer of Delhi police said.

'Have a sense of responsibility'

“This is neither something new nor specific to one platform. Cyber harassment has been there for years and exists on several platforms such as Telegram, WhatsApp groups, Instagram, Facebook, etc. and is now shifting to platforms such as Discord. It's neither easy nor practical for the government to regulate such platforms, however a sense of responsibility needs to be there in every user. The youth need to realise that harmony is important not just on land but also in cyberspace," said Ritesh Bhatia, Cyber Crime Investigator and founder of V4WEB cyber security.


“This is the age and stage where teenagers are forming their own  identity and belonging is a  huge part. Peer influence plays major role at this age. Their social interaction and growth has been hampered in the past 2-3 years due to pandemic induced restrictions. Their physical and social interaction is almost zero. Everything that they consume is over the  internet,” said Nirali Bhatia, leading cyber psychologist and founder of CyberBAAP.

“There must be lot more going on within their internal space. This is the family space , emotional space, the house environment. If the children are feeling lost and they don’t have sense of belonging anywhere, there is this huge need to belong somewhere. What better place than the internet and the communities there? And we do have lot of extreme content and there is no one to  monitor and validate it. They spend lot of time on internet which has over flow of information which may not be age appropriate. Lack of maturity in consuming certain information may lead some children towards extremity in thoughts and actions.” Bhatia added.

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