Times Of India
HYDERABAD: The ripples of the horrific gangraped of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi are being felt in the city with many working women taking matters into their own hands by purchasing pepper sprays, stun guns and some even joining self-defence classes.

"I used to get around one inquiry in four days for pepper spray cans. Now I get at least two inquiries per day," said JP George, owner of a store that supplies Cobra Pepper spray and is making a brisk business. He adds that most of the customers inquiring for pepper sprays are young working women. Several BPOs have also approached him.

Although popular belief suggests that Hyderabad is relatively a safer city, a recent data of the crime records bureau shows that the number of raped cases went from 40 in 2010 to 60 so far this year. Harassment cases too were on the rise, from 897 in 2009 to 1036 till November 2012. Some have gone a step further and opted for stun gun or taser with many women contacting suppliers in other cities as the product is hard to find here. "We have received around 30 calls from Hyderabad in the last one month. Ever since the Guwahati molestation, there has been a 20% increase in the number of orders we get from cities like Hyderabad," said Satful Sonawane, owner of Security Planet in Pune. The lack of awareness about these products and the low availability are a cause of concern, said city women. "You don't get pepper spray that easily here. This should be made available in the city. I have to hunt down a supplier of pepper spray and stun guns," said Niharika Rohella, an MNC employee and resident of Madhapur. Niharika further said that she and some of her friends had joined a self defence class to be ready to handle any situation.
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“I have sold 300 pepper sprays in the last 10 days, which is a jump of nearly 50% in the usual demand. We have inquiries for stun guns though they are comparatively less since it is an expensive product and some women are also apprehensive about using it,” said Satful Sonawane, partner at Computer Planet at Shaniwar Peth. The shop sells pepper spray for Rs500 onwards while a stun gun might cost anything upwards of Rs3,500. “We have also seen a lot of men buying the sprays as gifts for women in their family. The sprays are a milder form of security equipment compared to the stun gun. While the spray is meant to be sprayed into eyes and cause pain and burning, the stun gun is an electronic device that gives a high voltage shock of up to 1800 W and the person can get immobilized for several minutes,” added Sonawane.
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Second year mass communication student Priya Shevale (21) was pleasantly surprised when her father bought her a gift. However when she opened the wrapper, she was shocked to see a rather odd item – a pepper spray. “Actually my father was very worried about my safety since I travel alone. I learn dance and have late evening classes thrice a week. He didn’t want to curb my freedom of stepping out late. Hence he brought me this spray and asked me to carry it at all times in my bag,” she said. After the horrific gang rapeincident in New Delhi, women and even their loved ones are taking no chances with safety. Retail shops say demand for security products like pepper sprays, chilli sprays and stun guns have risen dramatically over the last few days. “I have sold 300 pepper sprays in the last 10 days, which is a jump of nearly 50% in the usual demand. We have inquiries for stun guns though they are comparatively less since it is an expensive product and some women are also apprehensive about using it,” said Satful Sonawane, partner at Computer Planet at Shaniwar Peth. The shop sells pepper spray for Rs500 onwards while a stun gun might cost anything upwards of Rs3,500. “We have also seen a lot of men buying the sprays as gifts for women in their family. The sprays are a milder form of security equipment compared to the stun gun. While the spray is meant to be sprayed into eyes and cause pain and burning, the stun gun is an electronic device that gives a high voltage shock of up to 1800 W and the person can get immobilised for several minutes,” added Sonawane. At Camp’s Dorabjee store too, increase in demand has prompted store owners to stock up on security products. “In fact, we have run out of stock of chilli sprays. There is some problem at the supply end, so we believe stocks may come in only after a few days. However, pepper sprays are very much in demand and we have it available for Rs490,” said Rupesh Sonawane, store manager. Not just security products, but demand for self-defence training has spiked as well, though an expert said the trend is likely to be short-lived. Naresh Sharma, principal instructor at Japan Karate-Do Nobukawa-Ha Shito-Ryu Kai India, who runs 25-odd karate centres in the city said, “In the last ten days, we have received a lot of requests for short-term self-defence training courses. Most queries come for training women between 13 years and 35 years of age and surprisingly a lot of men call up to inquire for their daughters or wives. However, as experience tells us, this trend is short-lived as basically we are not a security conscious society.”
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