1. Message from Mumbai: Online mobs spreading hate should not be allowed to continue their work with impunity

Context:  The swift action by the Mumbai police in tracing and arresting three persons linked to the latest incident involving a fake online ‘auction’ of Muslim women gives hope that all is not lost.

Whether the three arrested were indeed the creators of the app remains a question of investigation and the limited police version at the moment is that they were promoting the platform, at a minimum.

The Commissioner of the Mumbai Police has said the probe is continuing and anyone involved in the crime, directly or indirectly, will be arrested and prosecuted. 
About the apps: 
‘Bulli Bai’ app, on the Github platform  targeted Muslim women by putting up their photos online for auction.
Sulli Deals:  A similar app reported in July 2021, where a 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 ( – the platform where the app was hosted – quickly took it down following massive outrage on Indian social media. 
Sulli” is a derogatory slang word used by the Hindu right-wing against Muslim women in India. “Bulli” too is a pejorative. 
Reasons behind online hate & Xenophobia: 
Purveyors of hate, misogyny and xenophobia have been on a boundless revelry in India, online and offline, with near total impunity and often times with support from politicians and the police. 
Police apathy: The Mumbai police action also contrasts with the inaction of the Delhi police, and the Noida police in Uttar Pradesh, in a similar case last year. 
Police Incompetence: Delhi police, threw their hands up when faced with the challenge of identifying some random imposters on social media. Such a level of incompetence or connivance is ominous. The Delhi police say they have written to GitHub, the U.S.-based platform that hosted the toxic apps. They are also seeking the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty procedure to find information about the app from the U.S., after its Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations unit took over the case. 
Gaps in Legislation: In November, the Union IT Minister replied that the Ministry was working on “identifying the gaps in current legislation to address contemporary issues of cyberspace including provisions to protect citizens, especially women, from any online harassment and cyber bullying”. 
Conclusion: .

While legislative changes are necessary, it cannot be an excuse to let online mobs roam free. The police must identify and arrest the original culprit, but if that process takes months on end, there have to be interim measures to enforce the rule of law. The Mumbai Police have done exactly that, in acting with the alacrity that this case deserves.

2.China’s bridge over Pangong Tso: What is the current situation in Eastern Ladakh? How has India responded to the new developments?

Context: China is building a bridge across the Pangong Tso within its territory connecting the North and South Banks which will significantly reduce the time for moving troops and equipment between the two sides. 
•    This is part of the overall infrastructure build up by China on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to address deficiencies it noticed since the standoff began in May 2020.
About the Construction: 
 •    The bridge is located around 25 km ahead of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
•    The construction had been going on for some time and it would reduce the overall distance by 140-150 km.
•    The bridge would provide a direct axis, the biggest advantage with the new bridge was the inter-sector movement as the time would come down significantly. 
•    The bridge is in China’s territory and the Indian Army would have to now factor this in its operational plans.
About Pangong Tso: 
•    India holds one-third of the 135-km-long boomerang-shaped lake located at an altitude of over 14,000 feet. 
•    The lake, a glacial melt, has mountain spurs of the Chang Chenmo range jutting down, referred to as fingers.
The importance of the bridge over Pangong Tso:

  • Reduction of Deployment time for China: It is located around 25 kms ahead of the LAC in Chinese territory and will significantly reduce the time for movement between People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison at Kurnak fort on the North Bank and the Modlo garrison on the South Bank, a distance of around 200 kms.
  • Earlier, PLA had to take a round about between the two sides of the Pangong lake which takes around 12 hours but the new bridge, around 500m long, would cut down the time to 3-4 hours. Construction has been ongoing for few months now, officials said.
  • The 2020 tensions on the North Bank: The initial tensions as the standoff began in May 2020 were on the North Bank of Pangong Tso with PLA troops moving upto Finger 4 and building permanent structures. However, tensions had flared up on the South Bank in August 2020.
  • India gaining a tactical advantage on the South Bank: The Indian Army gained tactical advantage over the PLA on the south bank in end August 2020 by occupying several peaks lying vacant since 1962 gaining a dominating view of the Spanggur gap and Moldo area. 
  • This has prompted China to build deep alternate roads behind the friction points away from the line of sight. 
  • During this, the two sides had also deployed tanks at heights of over 15,000 feet and shots were fired in the air on the LAC for the first time in decades.
  • There has been massive construction of accommodation for housing of troops closer to the LAC and also road infrastructure for movement of troops and mechanised forces, officials say.

Indian response to developments on the ground

  • The bridge is well within Chinese territory, officials say while stating the implications of this new bridge will have to be factored in the Indian Army’s operational planning for the future.
  • Infrastructure development: On its part, over the last few years India has been focusing on infrastructure development in forward areas and improving connectivity to the forward areas. Large scale construction of roads, bridges and tunnels is underway all along the LAC.
  • Advanced Winter stockings: Ahead of the winter, the Army had completed advanced winter stocking for the troops in forward areas, including rations, specialised fuel and ammunition among others as well as repair and upgrade of habitat and infrastructure.
  • While the process of disengagement and de-escalation stretches on, the two armies are geared to remain in the high altitude areas.
  • Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane said in October that if they (China) are there to stay at the LAC we are there to stay too. “We will be in LoC-kind (Line of Control) of a situation but not as active as the LoC,” he said when asked if they are looking at a LoC like situation at the LAC.

Status on the ground in Eastern Ladakh:

  • Military and Diplomatic level talks on: Since May 2020, the two sides have been holding regular military to military talks on the ground and also diplomatic level talks in addition to the 13 rounds of Corps Commander level talks to resolve the standoff. 
  • Phases of Disengagement: The two sides have so far undertaken two phases of disengagement, from both banks of Pangong Tso last February and from Gogra in August in addition to Galwan after the violent clash. Other friction areas yet to be resolved are Hot Springs, Demchok and Depsang.
  • Commander leve; talk: The two countries are working out details for the 14th round of Corps Commander talks to take forward the disengagement that has stalled after two phases of disengagement. 
  • The 13th round of Corps Commander talks remained inconclusive with the two sides releasing sharp statements on the outcome. 
    • Ready Deployment: At the same time, the two Armies had prepared to keep over 1 lakh soldiers on both sides deployed through the extreme winter in the high altitude region.
  • Setting up of Buffer Zones: The two sides had also agreed on a moratorium on patrolling in the disengaged areas and set up buffer zones until a resumption is discussed by both sides through diplomatic and military talks. India has insisted on comprehensive de-escalation of the situation in Eastern Ladakh which includes disengagement from all friction points, de-escalation and working out of new protocols.


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