Knives and chili powder have been given to female residents by the Mumbai, India town council, for a self-defense campaign.
The decision comes after repeated protests over lack of protection for women in the country, following a publicized gang-rape case.
The campaign was initiated by the Shiv Sena Party, an ally of opposing party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Russia Today writes.
The party gave out a total of 21,000 knives, all with 7 cm (2.75 inches) blades. They were distributed in the city of Mumbai and adjacent areas. This is just the first batch, as the party sets out to raise the number to 100,000.
The women of Mumbai have been encouraged to use the knives for protection, if they were attacked while walking alone on the street.
“Don’t be afraid of using this knife if someone attacks you. We have set up a team of nine advocates to protect you from any potential court cases that may arise,” knife campaign manager for the Shiv Sena Party, Ajay Chaudhari, said in a statement to a local newspaper.
They can employ the chili as well, as a replacement for pepper spray. It can be thrown at the attacker, giving the possible victim time to escape.
The chili and knives also hold a higher purpose. The gift is meant to encourage Indian women and remind them that they are not helpless.
“This is a symbolic gesture. It’s only to pass a signal to eve-teasers, anti-social elements and perpetrators of crime against women that women are empowered and can take care of themselves,” Shiv Sena Party spokesman Rahul Narvekar adds.
The term “eve-teasers” used in his statement is synonymous with those responsible of the act of rape against a woman.