Pepper spray in self-defence for Hindu women

Durga Vahini, women’s wing of VHP, gives canned sprays to its coordinators who will train other women in using it

Updated - April 25, 2016 05:46 am IST

Published - April 25, 2016 12:00 am IST - KOCHI:

Illustration: Sreejith R.Kumar
Illustration for TH

Illustration: Sreejith R.Kumar Illustration for TH

Hindu women of Kerala are being armed with pepper sprays by Durga Vahini, the women’s organisation of the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP), for “self-defence.”

The organisation has provided the canned sprays to its 23 district ‘samyojikas’ (coordinators), who are affiliated to the VHP.

First phase

The distribution was limited to the ‘samyojikas’ in the first phase so as to check its possible misuse, C. Bindu, the State coordinator of the organisation, told The Hindu .

These women coordinators are in the age group between 18 and 20 and include college students. The coordinators, in turn, will train other women.

“The distribution of the self-defence sprays will be widened as Hindu women and mothers are coming under increased attack in the State. More women will have to be trained in using the gadget,” Ms. Bindu said.

On VHP website

The VHP website says it is for “kindling a sense of security, sanskar, and dynamism and also to solve various problems facing women that the VHP founded the independent organisation of Hindu Yuwatis in the name of Durga Vahini” on Durga Ashtami.

“Sisters between 15 to 35 years can join Durga Vahini,” the website said.

“Durga Vahini will limit the distribution of the gadget to Hindu women as it is an organisation dedicated to Hindu women. In Kerala, Durga Vahini is not active as in other parts of the country. However, of late, the organisation has hit a growth path as society and parents of Hindu girls have realised the need for such an organisation,” said Ms. Bindu.

Karate sessions

The organisation had been holding self-defence training programmes, including karate sessions, for Hindu women in Kerala, she said.

When asked whether the distribution, training and use of such devices exclusively among any one community would lead to social and communal conflicts, the woman leader affirmed that there would not be any such fallout.

Spray with a sting

Pepper sprays, mostly used by law enforcement agencies, including police and riot control units, to disperse crowds, are also advised for self-defence. The spray could cause tears, pain, and temporary blindness. One of the firms selling the unit online claimed that the spray “impacts instantly and effect remains for minimum 30 to 45 minutes and is ideal for working women, housewives, college girls, shopkeepers, businessmen, senior citizens etc.”

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