The Shiv Sena, on Wednesday, distributed knives to women in Thane so they could protect themselves in dangerous situations. However, psychologists and social experts have called it a perilous trend that can criminalise society and that offers women only a temporary sense of security.
Nandita Shah, co-director, Akshara, a group campaigning against gender violence, said, "Distributing knives is a ridiculous idea and only makes women more vulnerable."
She compared it to the situation in some parts of the United States where the ease of acquiring firearms has led to the loss of innocent people and children.
Anita Mittal, 46, a homemaker from Malad, agreed, saying, "Giving out knives to women is not a safe idea as there are chances the weapon might be misused."
Some women advocated less lethal options. "I would prefer protecting myself with self-defence tactics or by using a pepper spray rather than a knife. The possibility of confrontation increases with the power of a knife and so does the risk of harm," said Aletta D'Souza, 23, a media professional.
Psychologists said the knife boosted confidence only when the user knew the right technique and was capable enough to react quickly in an emergency.
Harish Shetty, psychologist, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai advocated timely justice as a solution and said, "Carrying weapons might give a temporary sense of security to women but the need of the hour is a
general awareness among men to help women feel safe even at night."