Mumbai women given knives, chilli to fend off rapists
Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has handed out kitchen knives and chilli powder to women in Mumbai following the gang rape of a student in Delhi that ignited a national debate on the best way to tackle sex crimes. The party, an ally of the main opposition BJP, said it had handed out 21,000 knives with three-inch (7 cm) blades to women in the city and surrounding areas and plans to distribute 100,000.
Mumbai police said they were examining the knives and considering legal action. "This is a symbolic gesture," said Shiv Sena spokesman Rahul Narvekar, adding that a knife shorter than six inches in length does not fit the definition of a weapon. The party also handed out small bags of chilli powder - apparently to throw into an attacker's eyes.
"It's only to pass a signal to eve-teasers, anti-social elements and perpetrators of crime against women that women are empowered and they can take care of themselves," Narvekar said.