Illustration: Soham Sen | ThePrint


Congress MP Dr Mohammad Jawed tagged Union Home Minister Amit Shah and asked for action in both the cases.

Many others were similarly outraged.

Radicalisation of the young and ‘educated’  

So where do Niraj, Shweta, Vishal and Mayank get this impunity?

Niraj tweeted from his handle — @giyu44 — that it was him who had created the app and the police had arrested the wrong people. He did all this sitting at his home in Assam after returning from Delhi on Christmas. The Delhi Police tracked the IP address and knocked on his doors Wednesday 11pm. Officers seized his laptop in which they have allegedly found morphed images and profiles of the Muslim women he ‘put on sale’.

He even threatened a Muslim woman with ‘Bulli Bai 2.0’.

You can’t find Niraj on Facebook or Instagram. He is on Quora. A report on his social media activities by The Quint reveals a deeply Islamophobic, bigoted, homophobic, misogynist and sexist mind.

Reports and social media suggest all the four arrested in the Bulli Bai app case have been radicalised. And the means are widely available. Thousands watch self-proclaimed protector of Sanatan Dharma and head priest of Dasna Devi temple Yati Narshinganand, who did his engineering from Canada, passing Islamophobic comments on his YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Educated youth in India pursuing their degrees in reputed universities and colleges are now using tech and Internet to wage an online ideological war against communities. Targeted violent contents are openly shared across all platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, WhatsApp. For instance, the video of the Muslim man who was killed in Palwal, Haryana was first shared on Facebook. It was later uploaded with background music, but later taken down. The video of a 14-year-old Muslim boy who was  beaten up inside the Dasna Devi temple where he had entered to drink water was also uploaded on social media, with many sharing it with objectionable and hateful comments.

Of late, these Hindu radicals have been divided into two groups — ‘Trad’ and ‘Raita’. Trads are ‘traditionalists’ consisting mostly of oppressor caste Hindus who spew venom against Dalits and treat them with disdain. ‘Raitas’, on the other hand, disassociate themselves from ‘Trads’ and even celebrate their arrest.

Metaverse and the new dangers 

In between all of this, we are heading towards — Metaverse — a virtual reality universe, where people can create their digital avatars. Beyond the excitement and thrill that Metaverse offers, experts say the harm and toxicity that it could bring remains a matter of concern.

“Radicalisation, misinformation, hate speech, harassment, and other online crimes have the potential of shifting onto the metaverse as well,” said Kazim Rizvi, digital policy expert and founding director of The Dialogue. He added that a strong data protection law is critical to ensure user privacy.

“With addiction to social media being a challenge as it is, the metaverse, which is a lot more engaging than regular social media, is bound to amplify the psychological strain that addiction causes along with a loss of sense of reality,” Rizvi said.

In an internal memo, Meta Chief Technology officer and former Facebook employee Andrew Bosworth had said that this virtual reality could be a toxic environment for women and children, adding that “moderating what people say and how they act at any meaningful scale is practically impossible”.

In fact, the lurking dangers of metaverse have already knocked doors. A woman on the virtual reality platform Horizon World said that she was groped by a stranger. Meta’s internal review committee said that the user hadn’t activated the “safe zone”.

Cyberspace is already a difficult terrain when it comes to tracking crime for investigating agencies. With radicalised educated youth, metaverse could only increase mental violence against oppressed communities and women.