Bengaluru

BMRCL directs security personnel to allow women to carry pepper spray

Members of All India Mahila Samskrutika Sangatane staging a protest at SBM Circle on Monday, condemning the increasing crimes on women, and the gang rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad.

Members of All India Mahila Samskrutika Sangatane staging a protest at SBM Circle on Monday, condemning the increasing crimes on women, and the gang rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: V Sreenivasa Murthy

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Several organisations have asked transport agencies to ensure that women have a safe commute

The rape and murder of a woman in Telangana a few days ago has once again brought the issue of safety and security of women to the fore. An increasing number of women who travel alone, especially at night after work, have taken to carrying pepper spray.

An undergraduate student said that many young women like her feel empowered when they carry a canister of pepper spray. “It is in self-defence, and gives us the confidence of handling any untoward incident ourselves,” she said.

However, whether pepper spray can be carried on Namma Metro came into question after one male commuter recently took to Twitter to ask authorities why their security staff confiscated pepper spray from women in some stations.

Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) clarified that the incident the commuter was referring to occurred at just once station. B.L. Yeshwanth Chavan, Chief PRO, BMRCL, said that the corporation's security department looked into the incident. “Directions have now been given to all security personnel to allow women to carry pepper spray,” he said.

Several organisations working for women's welfare said that transport agencies should work towards ensuring that women passengers have a safe commute. Given the popularity of Namma Metro, Vimala from Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane said that BMRCL, apart from increasing frequency and the number of cars, should make public announcements on how men should behave in the interest of women's safety.

“The space in metro stations could be utilised to publicise the External Committee under Deputy Commissions set up to deal with sexual harassment complaints, apart from displaying messages against sexual harassment,” she said.

Several commuters pointed out that the need for last-mile connectivity should be addressed.

“I usually leave my office after 9 p.m. While it’s convenient to take the Purple Line and get down at Hosahalli, I have to travel another 4km to get to my house. It’s an isolated stretch and I rarely get autos. The authorities should address this problem,” said Tanvi R., 29.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 9:45:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bmrcl-directs-security-personnel-to-allow-women-to-carry-pepper-spray/article30141163.ece

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