A martial arts school in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, imparts free self-defence training to girls and women to help them fight harassment.

“Self-defence skills will be displayed in parks, schools, colleges, intersections of the city and villages in the district to make girls aware about how they can protect them from eve-teasers when they move out of houses for study,”- Onkar Pancholi

Onkar Pancholi, the director of Karatians School, Rajasthan, told HT, “The school teaches girls some self-defence tricks to make feel more confident, so that they can take on eve-teasers and those trying to molest them.”

He added that at least 6,500 girls and women — from the city and rural areas — have been trained free of cost in martial arts over the last eight years.

He also talked about a website that features self-defence tricks for girls and women.

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“Self-defence skills will be displayed in parks, schools, colleges, intersections of the city and villages in the district to make girls aware about how they can protect them from eve-teasers when they move out of houses for study,” Pancholi said.

According to police figures, 244 rape cases were registered in Bharatpur in 2015, which declined to 186 in 2016. In Karauli, rape cases increased to 80 in 2016 from 58 cases in 2015; Sawai Madhopur recorded 64 rape cases in 2016 against 56 in 2015 and 75 such cases were registered in Dholpur in 2016.

Girls undergoing training say they feel empowered after the martial arts training. “Earlier, it was not possible as we were scared of unwanted obscene comments on the way. I and my friends had faced harassment by eve-teasers many times,” says Anita Singh (17), a BA final year student in Agrasen College.

She added that the self-defence training has made them more confident as now they are able to go out anywhere without any apprehensions.

It is heartening to see such measures being taken in the direction of assisting women in making them selfreliant for their safety.

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