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'Handgun named after Delhi braveheart an insult to her memory'

January 13, 2014 11:25 IST

A handgun specially designed for women and named after the December 16 Delhi brahevheart has sparked a controversy.

Many rights activists, who gathered at the national capital to protest on Sunday, felt that a handgun named after ‘Nirbhaya’ is a disgrace to her memory.

“The lightweight .32 calibre revolver has been developed by the state-run Indian Ordnance Factory and can fit inside a small purse or handbag”, according to a newspaper report.

The factory in Kanpur has received 20 orders since the titanium-alloy, six-shot gun -- costing Rs 1,22,360 rupees was launched earlier this month, the Times of India said on Friday.

“At least 80 per cent of the bookings are from women,” IOF general manager Abdul Hameed told the newspaper, adding that more orders were expected soon, AFP reported.

“Expectedly, the weapon has received a very good response”, the report added.

The gun is called Nirbheek (fearless) and was intended as a tribute to the 23-year-old paramedical student who was gang raped inside a bus, which later led to her death. The horrific incident sparked a major outrage across the country about the dismal levels of violence against women.

“But activists said the gun showed Indian authorities completely misunderstood how they were supposed to protect women from high levels of violence across the country,” the report said.

“It really is an insult to the memory of Nirbhaya,” Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, told AFP on Sunday.

“Our research shows that a person is 12 times more likely to be shot dead if they are carrying a gun when attacked. It also shows that the government of India has failed to protect women by resorting to this. Arming women is not a responsible way to secure their safety and security,” she said.

Image: A protestor holds a placard during a demonstration demanding justice for ‘Nirbhaya’, in New Delhi

Photograph: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters