Red Chilli campaign for the capital`s women

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2010, 09:50 AM IST

New Delhi: `Stop becoming a victim, the solution is mirchi jhonk` - a short burst of red chilli spray! This is the slogan of the Red Chilli campaign launched by a group of medicos in the capital to teach simple methods of self-defence to the capital`s women.

Worried over the increasing rate of crime against women in the city, the group which calls itself `mirchi jhonk` launched the campaign in August this year but it has become active last month.

Women are given some simple tips of self- defence -- carry a pack of red chillies or pepper in the hand bag and blind an assailant, always walk on pavements facing the traffic and not along with it, keep all important phone numbers, including that of police, on emergency dial.

The group has a dedicated team of self-defence trainers, counsellors who train women in the art of self-protection. They have conducted some training camps in Delhi schools and colleges.

"It is a campaign by the women and for the women. People can volunteer for counselling, self-defence training or response team. The motive is that each one of us be a protector of one another," the campaign`s director Shalini Malik told IANS.

The group also runs a helpline, 60606161, that women can call in case of any emergency. And so far, the helpline has received over 150 calls on issues ranging from eve teasing, stalking and molestation to domestic violence.

Malik, who runs a skin and cosmetic surgery clinic in the city, said she was shocked after the Dhaula Kuan gangrape case last month and decided to push forward the campaign in the capital.

A 30-year-old BPO employee from Mizoram was abducted and raped by five men in south Delhi Nov 24 after she was dropped by her office cab near her home at around 1.30 a.m.

"Delhi has become unsafe for women. Every day, each one of us faces molestation in one form or the other and most of these incidents are never reported," Malik said.

"We just cannot be dependent on police or others and should take the responsibility of our security ourselves," she added.

Malik came up with the `mirchi jhonk` after many of her female friends and relatives complained about molestation.

"I know it`s a small initiative but one has to start from somewhere. So I started with mirchi jhonk. I have got tremendous support from other medicos, the people of Delhi and the police," she said.

"According to official figures, as many as 18 women are assaulted in some form or the other every hour across India. Over the last few months, cases of rape and assault have made it to the headlines with alarming frequency," she said.

"We all know that girls are being molested every day. One can`t drive alone because someone might just try and harm, even kill. Isn`t this violation of our rights?" she questioned.

The group will soon launch a cab service exclusively for women - to be driven by women drivers only.

They are also planning to conduct some events like awareness walks, fashion shows and kite flying competitions to spread awareness about safety of women in the city.

So, join the Red Chilli campaign and be safe!

IANS