After Delhi murders, women advised to wear high heels, hit below belt

April 4th, 2009 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sahil Makkar
New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) After the sensational murders of IT executive Jigisha Ghosh and journalist Soumya Vishwanathan, police have suggested that women wear high heels to work, carry heavy bags, and use both to hit would-be assailants below the belt.

These self-defence tips are being sent to firms, especially those like media houses and BPO companies that have a large number of women working till late at night.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast Delhi) Shalini Singh recently made a presentation on security of employees at the Gurgaon office of leading IT solution company Wipro.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of 10 other BPO companies.

“I advised women to use their clothes, hand bags and perfume as a weapon of self-defence. They can use their high heels to put their foot down, spray perfume in the eyes of criminals and strike them hard with their bags,” Singh told IANS.

“Woman can also hit below the belt in case of trouble. All these measures will help women buy some time and flee from the spot,” she added.

Singh also handed women employees small tips like keeping emergency number 100 on their speed dial list and not to speak on the phone while walking on the road.

Women should also stand with their backs to the wall, so that they can keep a tab on their surroundings, she said.

“They can also inform their family or friends before starting for home from their offices. These are little things which one tends to ignore in day-to-day life but can really help in the long run,” she said.

She also suggested women not carry large amounts of cash with them.

The police reaction comes in the wake of the robbery and murder of IT executive Jigisha Ghosh last month.

Jigisha was talking over her mobile and walking towards her home in the early hours of March 21 after being dropped by the cab of her office Hewitt Associates at the gate of the Vasant Vihar apartment complex where she lived.

She was spotted by some criminals, who kidnapped, robbed and later killed her. Her body was found in Faridabad, Haryana, about 20 km from her home.

Soumya was killed Sep 30 last year while she was returning after a late night shift at the TV station where she worked. The police claim that both women were killed by the same men.

Singh in her presentation rolled out a string of guidelines for the BPOs and other IT firms as well.

“First all the cabs should be fitted with Global Positioning System so that their movement can be traced. And once the employee reaches home, people from the office control should call them every day, without fail, to check whether they have reached safely,” Singh added.

She asked the industry to set up a hotline with the police control room so that help could be provided to them without any delay. Another suggestion was to set up a web-page where all companies can share details of sacked cab drivers and exchange data about security practices which could be replicated by other companies.

“The companies were also asked to provide security tips to their employees during orientation.”

The companies can also keep breath analysers to check whether the drivers are drunk, she said.

Deepak Ohylan, president of the Business Process Industry Association of India, said the association was working on setting up a hotline with the police.

“We have been tightening our security measures after the Jigisha murder and are looking into the reasons that led to her unfortunate death.”

There are around 500 call centres - both domestic and international - in and around the national capital and it is a major source of employment for thousands of youngsters staying in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaizabad and Faridabad.

(Sahil Makkar can be contacted at sahil.m@ians.in)

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