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Bold step forward The girls at a self-defence class
Bold step forward The girls at a self-defence class

The police and the Women’s Commission in Puducherry are training young women in the art of self-defence. Serena M. Josephine reports

Think women are timid and nervous, and afraid of eve-teasers all the time? Then, it’s time you think again. More and more women in Puducherry are busy mastering the skills of self-defence. Soon, walking on a deserted street or travelling at night will no longer be unnerving for young women.

Equipping the girls, primarily college and school students, with the basic techniques of self-defence are the Puducherry Police department and Women’s Commission. With increasing cases of violence against women, training in self-defence techniques could serve as a timely intervention. Consider this statistics for instance, the Puducherry police department had registered 30 cases of eve-teasing and 89 cases of molestation in 2007 alone. “The aim of the class is not to turn the young girls into martial arts experts but to train them in basic self-defence techniques,” says Senior Superintendent of Police (Law and Order) Chhaya Sharma. “We have developed 32 to 35 situations a girl may find herself in and then teach them to defend themselves when faced with such situations,” she adds.The self-defence classes were started almost a year ago. The department holds a 10-day course for school and college students. Now, it also plans to start summer camps in martial arts. “So far, around 550 girls have attended the classes. We had conducted the classes at Pondicherry University, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences and a number of schools and colleges. Two colleges of nursing have also shown interest in the classes,” says Sharma. The classes include lectures to educate girls on the rights and laws for women. The latest to the join the cause is the Puducherry Women’s Commission that will soon start self-defence classes for women. “We have called for applications and the first batch will have ten girls. “We want them to learn to safeguard themselves under all circumstances,” says S. Kamalini, Chairperson of the Commission.

The Commission plans to conduct the classes for an hour daily for ten days. Kamalini feels the training will also inculcate a sense of discipline in young women. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready for some action.

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