The ‘Bulli Bai’ app hosted by platform Github, responsible for targeting hundreds of Muslim women has shed light on two groups amid right-wingers. A division in the political spectrum with one common idea of Hindu supremacy. The 5 people arrested till now in the Bulli- Bai app case, Niraj Bishnoi, Vishal Jha, Mayank Rawat, Shweta Singh and Aumkareshwar Thakur had some things in common. They belonged to middle-class families, they were educated and all of them were driven to do this because they thought they are doing it for a larger cause. It raised questions like how the young educated minds of India are driven to humiliate and attack women belonging to the Muslim community?
The interrogation further revealed that an online group named ‘Tradmahasabha’ architected the whole app to slander Muslim women, especially those who are vocal against the policies of the central government and are active on social media. Bishnoi and Thakur were part of Tradmahasabha.
Dissecting Trads and Raitas
Both the groups are differentiated as they vary in the degree of extremism. Trads (short of traditionalists) consider themselves as protectors of Sanatan Dharma, the ideologies behind Hinduism as a religion. The people who adhere to this group believe that Narendra Modi is incapable of fulfilling their dream of Hindu-Rashtra. That he is soft on Muslims and Dalits.
The lexicon has been adopted from countries like America which called its extreme right-wingers, traditionalists.
Meanwhile, Raitas, a term used whenever anyone makes a mess in India, is a group that is considered to be having a soft stand on Muslims. They are ardent supporters of Modi and think Trads are people who can’t be pleased.
However, both place their belief in Hindu supremacy. Another common aspect is they believe in Savarna supremacy.
If one closely observe the online space created by Trads, one will find a pattern in the hate propagated by them. They use derogatory terms for Dalits, Muslims, Christians and one can also find them bashing Modi for being soft on these groups. They believe in using brute force and violence to suppress other groups and establish Hindu Supremacy.
A detailed report in The Print by Bismee Taskin surveys the Telegram groups, Twitter handles and Instagram accounts of those who claim they belong to these groups. She analysed these groups by speaking to the members of these groups to understand the ideology they are catering to.
She observed that Trads use particularly lewd content — across Twitter and Telegram — to attack ‘Islamists’, Raitas, ‘commies’ and even Dalits, labelling them as termites, frogs, and cockroaches.
The other group Raitas’ digital space had politically inspired morphed memes and those targeted at Trads.
Most of the Trads keep photos of Lord Ram, Lord Hanuman, Japanese anime characters and memes as profile pictures and all of them have fake accounts. They also believe in the sovereignty of Lord Ram than any political figure. They look at themselves as protectors of core Hindu values and traditions.
Another observation was Trad accounts also use memes to hit out at PM Modi, often with the hashtag #MaulanaModi, to question if he would do anything to ‘protect’ Hindus. This is a place where Raitas differ from Trads saying no government action makes this group happy. They have also said that Trads ‘dislike’ the PM ‘due to his caste’
This variation in extremism under the umbrella ideology of Hindutva is layered. After the arrests in Bulli Bai, the trad accounts have become defunct.