- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2013

A radical Hindu political party in India thinks it’s found a novel way to combat the country’s abysmal rape record and protect women from violence: chili powder and knives.

Members of Shiv Sena distributed 21,000 knives with three-inch blades to women this week, with plans to pass out another 100,000. They also handed out bags of chili powder to toss into would-be attackers’ eyes.

Police in Mumbai are considering legal action against the distributors, but a party spokesman insists the knives are legal. In a Telegraph report, Rahul Narvekar calls the distribution a “symbolic gesture,” and that only knives with six-inch blades or longer meet the legal definition of a weapon.

Rape has taken center stage in India of late, as horrific crimes against women have shaken the nation and shocked the world. In the wake of a recent gang rape, human rights advocates asked the nation’s Supreme Court to step up protections for women. The court did agree earlier this month to look at ways of fast-tracking court cases against alleged rapists.