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Pictures | Tue Jan 22, 2013 | 6:00pm IST

Delhi women on guard

<p>Sweety, 22, a student, takes a self defence class in New Delhi, January 14, 2013. tlight. 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". Since a medical student died after being gang raped on a bus in New Delhi, the issue of women's security in India has been under the spotlight. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

Sweety, 22, a student, takes a self defence class in New Delhi, January 14, 2013. tlight. 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...more

Sweety, 22, a student, takes a self defence class in New Delhi, January 14, 2013. tlight. 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". Since a medical student died after being gang raped on a bus in New Delhi, the issue of women's security in India has been under the spotlight. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>Sweety, 22, a student, poses for a picture 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</p>

Sweety, 22, a student, poses for a picture 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...more

Sweety, 22, a student, poses for a picture 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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<p>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</p>

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...more

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

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

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

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<p>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 be a safe thing to do) is not an option in my mind because if I stop myself from living my life in ways that are most convenient to me, I'm giving into fear and ceding my independence. I use the metro because it's the most convenient travel option for me and I will continue to do so". REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

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...more

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 be a safe thing to do) is not an option in my mind because if I stop myself from living my life in ways that are most convenient to me, I'm giving into fear and ceding my independence. I use the metro because it's the most convenient travel option for me and I will continue to do so". REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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. "Not using the metro or an auto or a bus or a cycle rickshaw (because it might not be a safe thing to do) is not an option in my mind because if I stop myself from living my life in ways that are most convenient to me, I'm giving into fear and ceding my independence. I use the metro because it's the most convenient travel option for me and I will continue to do so", Simrat said. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

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. "Not using the metro or an auto or a bus or a cycle rickshaw (because it might not be a safe thing to do) is...more

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. "Not using the metro or an auto or a bus or a cycle rickshaw (because it might not be a safe thing to do) is not an option in my mind because if I stop myself from living my life in ways that are most convenient to me, I'm giving into fear and ceding my independence. I use the metro because it's the most convenient travel option for me and I will continue to do so", Simrat said. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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. ears. 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 I'm trained in self-defence. Initially I faced a lot of problems but driving cabs at night has helped me to overcome my fears", said Chandani who has been working as a cab driver for the last four years. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal </p>

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. ears. Chandani said demand for their cabs...more

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. ears. 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 I'm trained in self-defence. Initially I faced a lot of problems but driving cabs at night has helped me to overcome my fears", said Chandani who has been working as a cab driver for the last four years. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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</p>

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...more

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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<p>Sheetal, 23, who works at a night call centre, poses for a photograph in 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</p>

Sheetal, 23, who works at a night call centre, poses for a photograph in 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...more

Sheetal, 23, who works at a night call centre, poses for a photograph in 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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<p>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</p>

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...more

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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<p>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</p>

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

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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<p>Ishita Matharu, 23, who works for a multinational company, poses for a picture in New Delhi January 16, 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 classes for more than four years. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

Ishita Matharu, 23, who works for a multinational company, poses for a picture in New Delhi January 16, 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...more

Ishita Matharu, 23, who works for a multinational company, poses for a picture in New Delhi January 16, 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 classes for more than four years. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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.  REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

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. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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. "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 away from the shackles of gender stereotypes which say that women can't protect themselves and therefore they shouldn't step out of their house late in the evening without being escorted by a male member of the family or a male friend" said Baishali, who has been taking Krav Maga classes for the last year.  REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

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. "Men can never understand the lack of freedom as we do. For a woman, to learn how to fight and defend...more

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. "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 away from the shackles of gender stereotypes which say that women can't protect themselves and therefore they shouldn't step out of their house late in the evening without being escorted by a male member of the family or a male friend" said Baishali, who has been taking Krav Maga classes for the last year. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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.  REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal </p>

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. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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</p>

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

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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<p>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 on the roads once out of the house, almost always vigilant and looking out for trouble." REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

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...more

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 on the roads once out of the house, almost always vigilant and looking out for trouble." REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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</p>

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...more

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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<p>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 still remains unanswered (for me) would be - how safe am I even under the brightly lit sky? For how long sending a series of texts including the drivers name and the vehicle registration number to my father after hiring an auto rickshaw would give me the sense of security?". REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal</p>

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...more

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 still remains unanswered (for me) would be - how safe am I even under the brightly lit sky? For how long sending a series of texts including the drivers name and the vehicle registration number to my father after hiring an auto rickshaw would give me the sense of security?". REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal

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<p>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</p>

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...more

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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