Indian Women Given Kitchen Knives and Chilli Powder to Protect Against Rape
The radical Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena, an ally of the main opposition BJP and which governs Mumbai, said it had handed out 21,000 knives with three-inch blades to women in the city and surrounding areas. It 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.
(Eve-teasing is a euphemism for molesting women)
“Don’t be afraid of using this knife if someone attacks you,” Ajay Chaudhari, running the knife campaign, was quoted by the party newspaper, Saamana, as saying.
“We have set up a team of nine advocates to protect you from