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Indian women given kitchen knives, chili to fend off rapists

 The Shiv Sena party, an ally of the main opposition BJP, said it had handed out 21,000 knives with three-inch blades to women in the city and surrounding areas and plans to distribute 100,000.

Mumbai police said they were examining the knives and considering legal action.

"This is a symbolic gesture," said Shiv Sena spokesman Rahul Narvekar, adding that a knife shorter than six inches in length does not fit the definition of a weapon. The party also handed out small bags of chili powder - apparently to throw into an attacker's eyes.

"It's only to pass a signal to eve-teasers, anti-social elements and perpetrators of crime against women that women are empowered and they can take care of themselves," Narvekar said.

Eve-teasing is a euphemism for molesting women.

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