Women in the city are gearing up. The Delhi gang-rape has not just made them angry, it has made them wiser. This is evident from the significant jump in the sales of pepper/chilli spray, a self-defence tool for women, in the past fortnight.
Available with most chemists and online portals, pepper and chilli sprays have seen a jump of 35%-40%.
However, many feel sales could have been higher had there been proper awareness among women. “Public awareness about such products is very low in India. Though people have heard of pepper spray, there is not much clarity on where the product is available in the market or how to use it,” says Mahesh Kumar, owner of a drugstore in Dollars Colony.
In reality, pepper spray is easily available over the counter at most medical stores and supermarkets.
In fact, the same can even be ordered from various online portals like healthkart.com and homeshop18.com, which sell brands like ‘Knockout Pepper Spray’, ‘ChilliGuard Pepper Spray’ etc, at affordable prices ranging between `250-`500.
“I have been carrying a pepper spray for over a year now. Although I am not sure if I will have the presence of mind to pull out the pepper spray and fight off any attack, I still feel it is better to carry one and be safe rather than sorry later,” says Anandita Dev.
“Personally I have never bought a pepper spray. But the Delhi incident has shaken me and my family members out of our wits. My parents now want me to carry something for self-defence. But don't know where I can buy it,” says Ritika Thakkar, who works in a finance company.
College student Vaishali Pawar, too, feels it is time girls carried something like a chilli or pepper spray. “I know my cousins in the US have pepper sprays on them at all times; but in India, the concept is still relatively new. After reading what happened in Delhi recently, I am definitely going to purchase my stock of the spray,” she says.
The unprecedented demand for pepper spray across the city has stumped suppliers. AAX Global, one of the first brands to launch pepper spray in India in 2002, has seen its sales go up manifold in the last two weeks. “We have sold more pepper sprays in the last 15 days than we have over the past few years put together,” says Rana Singh, Co founder, AAX Global.
They have been forced to withdraw their product from online portals like Myntra due to short supply.
However, manufacturers are weary of introducing too much supply into the market for fear that it may be misused by miscreants.