The district administration has issued five arms licences to three women applicants in the past three years.
According to the office of the joint police commissioner, only one of the total six applications has been rejected since 2010. Two of the female applicants had sought two licences each.
All the applicants had cited personal safety as the reason for getting permission to carry a weapon, the joint commissioner’s office said in response to an RTI query filed by city-based social activist Aseem Takyar.
However, in neighbouring Delhi, 84 licenses were issued to women applicants during the same period. A total of 126 applications were received from women in the national capital. Last year alone, Delhi administration issued 24 arms licences to women applicants.
Experts say that carrying arms may not be the best solution for women owing to the legal consequences of using them. Veena Gupta, founder and president of Women Empowerment Safety and Security (WESS), an NGO, suggests that it is more practical to have self-defense training rather than carrying arms for personal security.
“Not many women wear western clothes with big pockets to carry arms. When you are being attacked, you wouldn’t have time to open your purse and hunt for your pistol. So, it doesn’t really help in critical situations even if you carry a weapon,” Gupta said.
According to Kalpana Vishwanath, senior advisor, Jagori, carrying arms is definitely not being perceived by women as an alternative here. “In many cases, women prefer to avoid such a situation and take to more traditional solutions like being accompanied by someone on the roads or using safer roads,” she said.