Reuters

India's women defend themselves

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Aanchal Sukhija, 19, studying fashion media communication, waits for an auto rickshaw outside a metro station in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi January 16, 2013. Aanchal said that whenever she hires an auto rickshaw she has to send a short message to her father giving details of the auto in order to feel secure. "Government claims that the girl would be safer if she doesn't step out after 7 P. M., but one question which...

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Sweety, 22, a student, takes a self defence class in New Delhi, January 14, 2013. Sweety travels four hours every day from her village to the city to learn karate and taekwondo. She said, "boys in my village are scared to tease me after I beat up one boy who was passing lewd comments on me". REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Sweety, 22, a student, poses for a picture in New Delhi, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Richa Singh, 24, who works for an online travel portal, poses next to a mannequin at a market in New Delhi, January 13, 2013. Singh says, "women are seen as objects in this city, it doesn't matter what I wear, I still get stared at by men on the streets". REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Shaswati Roy Chaoudhary, 23, who works for an online fashion company holds a bottle of pepper spray in a public park in New Delhi January 14, 2013. Shaswati said was given the pepper spray by a male friend for her self defence. "The recent spate of events that have come to light have left me all the more threatened and alarmed. To take the first step towards self defence I carry a pepper spray bottle. That apart, I can never relax...

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A salesgirl applies lipstick inside a shop with bottles of pepper spray displayed for sale in New Delhi January 13, 2013. The sale of pepper sprays has increased according to the salesgirl. "We sell 5-6 bottles a day and demand is usually among 18-25 year old women", she said. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Baishali Chetia, 30, a freelance visual artist, travels on a bus after attending a Krav Maga class, an Israeli self defence technique, in New Delhi January 16, 2013. "Men can never understand the lack of freedom as we do. For a woman, to learn how to fight and defend herself from any kind of physical assault, to thrive to succeed in the field of martial arts, which is traditionally considered a male domain, is the best way to break...

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Baishali Chetia, 30, a freelance visual artist, takes part in a Krav Maga class, an Israeli self defence technique, in New Delhi January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Baishali Chetia, 30, a freelance visual artist, takes part in a Krav Maga class, an Israeli self defence technique, in New Delhi January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Deepshikha Bharadwaj, 24, who works for an advertising agency, poses inside her office elevator holding a notice that reads 'sorry I am not staying late now' in her office in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi January 11, 2013. Deepshikha has posted the notice on her desk and said she wanted to send a message to her colleagues that she is not going to work late in the office anymore. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Ishita Matharu, 23, who works for a multinational company, drives her car on her way to attending a Krav Maga class, an Israeli self defence technique, in New Delhi January 11, 2013. "I am not scared to travel alone by myself at night. After learning Krav Maga I am more confident to step out of my house late in the evening, I am no more frightened to drive alone or go out with friends", said Ishita who has been taking Krav Maga...

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Sheetal, 23, who works at a night call centre, poses for a photograph outside her office in New Delhi January 12, 2013. Sheetal said she has started carrying a small knife to protect herself. She also said "something which needs to be changed is not my working hours or my clothes but the mentality of the men in this city". REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Sheetal, 23, who works at a night call centre, poses for a photograph in her office in New Delhi January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Nalini Bharatwaj, 37, chairman of a management institute, holds a gun while posing in her office in New Delhi January 16, 2013. "Half of the time I am alone with my children and sometimes I have to travel late at night from work. It is enough to shut up anyone trying to molest me or even pass a comment if I flaunt my gun", Nalini said. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Nalini Bharatwaj, 37, chairman of a management institute, holds a gun while posing in her office in New Delhi January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Simrat, 24, who works for a non-profit arts organisation, travels in the women's compartment of a metro in New Delhi January 12, 2013. "I made the decision to use public transport as my primary way of moving through the city because I really believe that it is my right to be able to use public space, just as much as it is of any man's", Simrat said. "Not using the metro or an auto or a bus or a cycle rickshaw (because it might not...

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Simrat, 24, who works for a non-profit arts organisation, travels in a rickshaw in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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Chandani, 22, who works as a cab driver for a social enterprise which claims to provide safe and secure cab services for women driven by women, sits inside her car on a street in New Delhi January 13, 2013. Chandani said demand for their cabs has increased after a 23-year-old medical student was gang raped in New Delhi. "I am doing a very unconventional job for women. Given that I do night shifts, I carry pepper spray bottle and...

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A woman waits at a bus stop in New Delhi January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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