On July 4, dozens of Muslim women in India found themselves “up for sale” on an app that went by the name “Sulli Deals”. The app uploaded publicly available pictures of Muslim women, describing them as “deals of the day”.
Github Pages (github.io) – the platform where the app was hosted – quickly took it down following massive outrage on Indian social media. An archived link to the app can be accessed here. Another archived link shows that the app was in the works since at least June 14.
“Sulli” is a derogatory slang word used by the Hindu right-wing against Muslim women in India.
While the sadistic auctioning of Muslim women came as a surprise for most, it wasn’t out of the blue. There have been many Twitter accounts indulging in such behaviour. A handle named ‘UrLocalSulliDealer’ (@sullideals101) was operating since 2019 and was using the name since at least June 2020. Many such handles were promoting the “Sulli Deals” app, including @sullideals786 and @sullideals (both will be discussed later in this article).
A perverse handle @MCMughal created ‘Maharaja Gulab Singh Alpsankhyak Kalyan Yojana’ last year allowing men to make ‘bids’ for Muslim women.
As recent as May 13, 2021, two accounts @LiberalDogeReal and @Keshu__10 started a Livestream on YouTube where they ‘rated’ and ‘auctioned’ Muslim women to their audience. The duo used photographs of Pakistani women without their consent and used sexist and Islamophobic language. They bragged about the Livestream when it attracted well-deserved criticism. The video was eventually taken down by YouTube.
Newslaundry had published an investigative report revealing the identity of @LiberalDogeReal. The man behind the pseudonym is Ritesh Jha, 23, from Bihar.
This article will later discuss @LiberalDogeReal in detail as we probe the organised effort to pin the blame of “Sulli Deals” on a young Muslim man.
An elaborate story – fact or fiction?
On July 22, a now-suspended Twitter handle @dankchikitsak made a thread blaming Zaved Alam (misspelt as “Javed”), 23, a computer engineering graduate from UP’s Kushinagar for the creation of “Sulli Deals”. The handle also claimed to be in possession of Zaved’s phone numbers and was willing to give them away to anyone who “wants to file a police complaint”.
In the elaborate thread, the handle claimed that Zaved ran now-deleted Twitter accounts Rajeev (@AnonHindu4) and Zubair (@AnonMark3). The accounts used to post pornographic content. @dankchikitsak shared a Twitter chat between @AnonHindu4 and an alleged Muslim woman @not_sameen where Zaved reveals his identity. @dankchikitsak remains suspended but an archived link to the thread can be accessed here. Zaved asks for @not_sameen’s Telegram ID in the chat and the user says it’s the same as their Twitter ID (the Twitter ID no longer exists and accessing the Telegram ID gives a “not found” result).
Three days later, @dankchikitsak made another thread that contained additional information. He tweeted a screenshot of a Telegram chat allegedly between Zaved Alam and @not_sameen where Zaved is allegedly confessing that he made the “Sulli Deals” app.
Below is a screenshot of the alleged chat that happened on July 24.
On August 30, after @dankchikitsak was suspended, another account @sullidealsXpose posted the exact thread and a scrolling video of the alleged Telegram chat. @sullidealsXpose later changed its name to @HateHunterr but the account is currently suspended. An archived link to the thread can be accessed here. Below is the Telegram chat claimed to have been taken place between Zaved Alam and @not_sameen on July 24.
If one notices carefully, the person “Z” alleged to be Zaved Alam has shared a screenshot of a “Welcome to GitHub” intimation for @sullideals. This means that Z, whoever he is, had access to the backend of the app.
Who is @dankchikitsak?
The handle @dankchikitsak exists on Koo with a similar username @dantchikitsak (“k” replaced with “t” in the word ‘dank’) however, it isn’t an anonymous account on Koo. The person identifies as “Krunal”.
Krunal’s full name is Dr Krunal Patel. He told Alt News that he wasn’t the sole operator of @dankchikitsak on Twitter. “The account was operated by multiple users. One of the admins made the thread on Zaved Alam. I did not,” he claimed.
Krunal’s earlier Twitter username was @dantchikitsak_ and he existed on Instagram with the same username. He used identical display pictures on both platforms and a comparison of this picture with the display image on Koo reveals he is the same person.
Zaved Alam’s response
A right-wing propaganda website dopolitics.in had published a story on July 24 based on @dankchikitsak’s July 22 thread. The website spoke with Zaved Alam who said that he indeed ran the two pornographic Twitter accounts but was not behind “Sulli Deals”. dopolitics.in tweeted its article in the afternoon of July 24.
Alt News also contacted Zaved and he reiterated his association with the two Twitter accounts. He further informed that he had a Twitter chat with @not_sameen where he accepted that he was behind the two accounts. But Zaved said that he neither created “Sulli Deals” nor admitted the same in a Telegram chat with @not_sameen.
“I had a chat with @not_sameen account on July 21 at around 4-4:30 pm. We exchanged phone numbers and Telegram IDs during our conversation. We did have a Telegram conversation at the same time, where I shared one of my photographs and mentioned the state where I live. But since the response on both Telegram and WhatsApp was delayed, we continued our conversation on Twitter. Neither on Twitter DM nor on Telegram did we discuss “Sulli Deals”. I found out about “Sulli Deals” after someone from dopolitics.in called me for a statement.”
The Telegram chat
The thread by @dankchikitsak and later the one posted by @sullidealsXpose claimed Zaved confessed in a Telegram chat about his involvement in the creation of “Sulli Deals”. Zaved Alam told Alt News that he did have a brief Telegram chat with @not_sameen, but at no point did they talk about “Sulli Deals”. So whose version is genuine?
The primary (and only) evidence provided by @dankchitkisak and @sullidealsXpose that links Zaved Alam with the app is the alleged Telegram chat. But an analysis of the chat raises a lot of questions. A Telegram account has two identifiers – Telegram ID and mobile number – and neither has been revealed in the chat. To ascertain that a Telegram account belongs to a certain individual, we must be able to verify either the phone number or the Telegram ID.
The next part can get a little confusing. Stay with us.
On July 22, @dankchikitsak had uploaded the screen recording of the Twitter chat between Zaved Alam and @not_sameen. Below is a screenshot where @not_sameen shares their Telegram ID upon request and Zaved says that he has dropped the handle a message on Telegram. The timestamp of this message on the Twitter chat (screenshot below) is 4:48 pm. So Zaved must have messaged around 4:48 pm. Furthermore, the Telegram interaction must have happened on or before July 22 since @dankchikitsak made the thread on July 22. Both the time and date are congruous with Zaved’s statement to Alt News. He told us he spoke with @not_sameen at around 4-4:30 on July 21.
While the Twitter chat shows that the conversation between Zaved and @not_sameen should have started at 4:48 pm on or before July 22, the Telegram chat which claims to have evidence of Zaved confessing to creating “Sulli Deals” starts on July 24 at 6:08 pm.
But this is not the only discrepancy in @dankchikitsak’s post.
On July 22, he tweeted that Zaved Alam was “bragging” about how he made “Sulli Deals”. @dankchikitsak also wrote that he will post a video where Zaved accepts he was behind the pornographic Twitter accounts and “many more things”.
How did @dankichikitsak know two days before Zaved Alam’s alleged admission that Zaved was behind “Sulli Deals”?
The timeline just doesn’t make sense.
Alt News questioned Krunal about the discrepancies. We asked how @dankchikitsak was able to claim on July 22 that Zaved Alam was behind ‘Sulli Deals’ when Zaved made the so-called confession on Telegram on July 24. Krunal claimed that @not_sameen was already aware of Zaved’s alleged association with “Sulli Deals”.
“The Telegram chat was set up by @not_sameen to get a confession. Zaved used to brag about “Sulli Deals” and that is how @not_sameen found out he was behind the app,” claimed Krunal.
But his statement doesn’t match the information shared by @dankchikitsak on Twitter on July 22. His tweet (screenshot above) said, “Will be posting a video where he [Zaved] accepts these are his accounts and many more things. I got it from a reputed Muslim girl…” This means that he was already in possession of the video. The only video that came to light after this thread was the alleged Telegram chat, which is dated July 24. How did @dankchikitsak have access to a chat from the future?
When we asked if he could share screenshots of social media posts where Zaved was “bragging” about “Sulli Deals”, Krunal responded, “That can only be provided by @not_sameen.” We then asked him if he could put us in touch with @not_sameen, he said he hasn’t spoken to the person in a while but the police have during the investigation into Zaved Alam.
All evidence points to the fact that the Telegram chat posted by @dankchikitsak isn’t genuine. At the start of the chat, Zaved sounds like a progressive individual. Below are screenshots that show him justifying why he ran pornographic Twitter accounts – “It is to break the taboo in our society. This love jihad and all. We want to break that myth…We don’t do this for fetish. We only want to stop the hate and normalise interfaith. Even many Hindus enjoy this now…”
But there is a sudden split in personality after the “confession”. He now comes across as a bigoted youth who hates Muslim women who freely express themselves on social media. He also refers to Hindus as “kafar” (misspelling of “kafir” which means non-believer).
Nothing in the alleged Telegram chat – whether it’s the date and time stamp or the sudden change in Zaved’s worldview – makes sense.
This brings us to the next piece of the puzzle.
Imposter handle @not_sameen
Before @not_sameen was made the hero of the entire “exposé”, the handle shared alleged pictures of “herself” on Eid on July 21.
Interestingly, the same photos were posted in May by a Pakistani woman who expressed shock that a man asked for her “price” while tagging @sullideals101.
These photographs are important to the story because they have been misused in the past as well.
Earlier in this report, we spoke about the YouTube Livestream uploaded by Ritesh Jha (@LiberalDogeReal) and Keshu where they “rated” and “auctioned” Pakistani women. This woman’s photos were featured in their video.
This confirms that @not_sameen is an imposter account.
As pointed out earlier, Zaved Alam said he did not confess his association with “Sulli Deals” to @not_sameen on Telegram. But they did exchange phone numbers that Zaved shared with us. @not_sameen’s number matches Krunal’s number revealed by @VedicYoddha.
When we asked Krunal about the same, he said that @not_sameen used his WhatsApp number to get Zaved Alam’s number. “Zaved wanted @not_sameen to send a WhatsApp number where they could talk. My number was already public so we decided to use it for the purpose. But after @not_sameen got Zaved’s number, all subsequent conversations happened only between them on Telegram and Twitter. I was not involved. I got all information about Zaved Alam from @not_sameen.”
It must be pointed out that at this point in our conversation, Krunal had accepted that @not_sameen was an imposter account and the person behind it was a man. But he did not share @not_sameen’s identity with us.
Who is behind “Sulli Deals”?
After the app caused outrage and there were demands that the people behind it be arrested, Twitter handle @sdfrgt4rf bragged about creating “Sulli Deals”. This was on July 4, the same day the app came to light.
The handle shared proof that it was indeed behind “Sulli Deals”. Among the proof was the “Welcome to GitHub” screenshot also shared by “Z” in the Telegram chat that shows the app was created on June 13. @sdfrgt4rf also shared a screenshot of the source code for “Sulli Deals”, thus further indicating that the person running this account is one of the individuals behind the making of the app.
Ritesh Jha had lauded @sdfrgt4rf for creating the app on July 5.
Ironically, when the narrative shifted to Zaved Alam, Jha offered to “help” Delhi police with information about Alam. This was on July 24, two days after @dankchikitsak uploaded a thread blaming Zaved. The tweet below is by another Twitter handle (@LiberalDogeB) that used to be operated by Jha. We know he was behind both @LiberalDogeReal and @LiberalDogeB since he has promoted them on his Facebook page (1 and 2).
Another handle that claimed to be a part of the team behind “Sulli Deals” was @sullideals786. He too had bragged about his association.
But the earliest association was revealed by archived tweets of the handle @sullideals. The screenshot below shows that the account shared an image of a woman on June 13 or 14 (right after the app’s creation). The user’s bio also had the link to “Sulli Deals” on GitHub.
At least since July 26, the handle changed its name to “UrLocalSulliDealer” and location to “Delhi”.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. The GitHub account @sullideals was created on June 13.
2. A Twitter handle named @sullideals had been sharing screenshots of “deals of the day” since June 13 or 14. The handle also took responsibility for creating the app.
2. “Sulli Deals” became popular on July 4 when several women on Twitter found their pictures on the app.
4. On July 22, Twitter handle @dankchikitsak run by Krunal Patel, and multiple others according to him, shifted the blame to Zaved Alam. @dankchikitsak shared screenshots of pornographic Twitter handles run by Zaved along with Zaved’s Twitter chat with @not_sameen where he accepts that he is behind the pornographic handles. @dankchikitsak also shared a Telegram chat that he claimed was between Zaved Alam and @not_sameen. It portrayed Zaved confessing he was behind “Sulli Deals”. The Telegram chat took place at 6 pm on July 24 but @dankchikitsak had already declared Zaved confessed to being the creator of “Sulli Deals” before the so-called confession happened. Krunal justified this discrepancy by claiming that Zaved’s association was already known since he used to brag about “Sulli Deals”. Evidence of the alleged bragging was not provided. More importantly, according to the Twitter chat, Zaved messaged @not_sameen on or before July 22 but the alleged Telegram chat is dated July 24. Krunal claimed that Zaved has another Telegram account and he first spoke to @not_sameen on the other account. Neither there is proof of the same nor did Krunal share details about @not_sameen’s identity beyond accepting that a man was behind the handle.
5. It must be noted that @not_sameen and Zaved Alam exchanged phone numbers. @not_sameen’s mobile number accessed by Alt News matches Krunal’s mobile number available publicly. Krunal claimed this was because he let @not_sameen give his number to Zaved. But once @not_sameen got Zaved’s number, all subsequent chats happened on Telegram or Twitter. Krunal’s WhatsApp number, as claimed by Krunal, was only used to get Zaved to share his number.
7. Liberal Doge had cheered @sdfrgt4rf for creating the app on July 4. Twenty days later, he blamed Zaved Alam for “Sulli Deals”.
An entire story was thus created to pin the blame of the creation of the “Sulli Deals” app on a young Muslim man. While the police investigation is yet to bring out the truth, the “evidence” shared by @dankchikitsak and @sullidealsXpose is flimsy and does not prove that Zaved Alam had anything to do with the app.
Can police investigation lead to the person who created the app?
On November 10, Mumbai police arrested Ramnagesh Akubathini, 23, from Hyderabad for posting a rape threat to cricketer Virat Kohli’s daughter from an anonymous Twitter account. Fact-checking organisations including Alt News pointed out that Akubathini (operating from the handle @criccrazyygirl) could be from Hyderabad and speaks Telugu. This was found upon investigating his archived conversations on Twitter.
To arrest Akubathini, the police must have contacted Twitter for getting hold of identifiers including IP addresses and questioned mobile service companies, among other things. This serves as proof that cases of cyber harassment can be brought to conclusion through a police investigation.
However, in the “Sulli Deals” case where multiple women were targeted and FIRs were lodged by both Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police, no arrests or even a breakthrough has been made. There are a number of ways in which the case can be investigated including tracking down the Twitter handles that claimed responsibility (@sullideals, @sdfrgt4rf and @sullideals786) for “Sulli Deals” GitHub repo, just the way the Mumbai police probed the Virat Kohli case.
Furthermore, two domains were registered during the app’s creation – sullideals.in and sullidealing.co.in. Both were registered through GoDaddy. One of the accounts (@mightyeagle30) that claimed to be part of the team that created “Sulli Deals” had sullidealing.co.in as their Twitter account bio (screenshots attached below – 1, 2, 3 and 4). The police could reach out to GoDaddy, the registrar of the aforementioned domains, to find out payment details, including credit card details, to track down those who registered the domain names.
The makers of the app can be traced with the help of the information already available in the public domain and some good old-fashioned police work. At this point, it is only a matter of willingness.
This report first appeared on Alt News. Read the original here.