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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Women pack a punch for self-defence

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 23: Roadside Romeos beware! You might end up with a smashed face and a bloody nose the next time you dare to tease a girl on the streets. For, an increasing number of young women in the city are jumping on to the self-defence bandwagon, learning to pack a punch and kick out trouble.

“It has become imperative for every woman to equip herself with basic knowledge of martial arts, considering the deteriorating safety standards of this city,” said Elina Roy, a college student, who learns taekwondo.

“Eve-teasing and molestation have become very common and more often than not, offenders manage to give you the slip. If you know the art of self-defence, you can not only protect yourself but also bash up the offender black and blue,” she said.

In the past week, the state capital has seen two incidents of crime against women in two busy areas.

On December 18, three youths were arrested for allegedly molesting a girl and attacking her companion near the busy Ram Mandir area. Two of them were civil engineers for a private company.

A day later, the gang-rape of a young female dancer in the plush Saheed Nagar area jolted city residents. Police arrested four men in connection with the incident, who were later sent to judicial custody.

“The city has become very unsafe and the behaviour of people has become unpredictable. Learning judo and kickboxing gives me a sense of confidence when I am out on the street,” said 25-year-old Anita Behera, who works for a private company.

The insecure atmosphere has prompted parents to equip their daughters with self-defence tactics by enrolling them for self-defence courses.

“They teach you how to use the attacker’s strength to your advantage. Even a handbag or a hairpin can help you save yourself. I have also picked up quite a few techniques by watching my daughter practise at home,” said Ashalata Mishra, a home-maker.

Some other youngsters feel that martial arts should be integrated into the curriculum.

“Instead of physical education classes, where students mostly end up gossiping on the playground, school authorities must consider substituting it with karate or some other form of martial arts. Colleges must also start holding self-defence classes,” said Ananya, a commerce graduate.

Veteran power lifter, Hari Prasad Patnaik said that in case of rape or any such physical assault, girls who had training in self-defence techniques had better chances of escaping and overpowering the offender.

“Though general awareness about self-defence techniques has been increasing over the years, Odisha lags behind other states. It would be encouraging to see more adult women come forward to learn martial arts,” he said.