No ban on women carrying pepper spray in metro: BMRCL

Representative image. (Photo/Pixabay)

In the aftermath of the Hyderabad veterinarian rape incident, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has directed its security personnel to allow female commuters to carry pepper spray with them, inside the metro.

A notification was issued by the BMRCL to all security personnel at the various metro stations to allow women commuters to carry pepper spray for self-defense, on Monday.

Over the last two months, BMRCL became a talking point on social media over its arbitrary decision to confiscate pepper spray. Several instances of security staff at Namma Metro stations forbidding women to carry pepper spray into the metro surfaced in the past.

It was also instrumental in netizen, Rakshith S Ponnathpur, highlighting the issue said in a tweet: "Dear @cpronammametro, why is your security staff confiscating pepper sprays from women in a few stations? You can't arbitrarily deny women access to a handy self-defence mechanism, when they have to resort to alternate modes of transport as well, to reach their destinations (sic)." 

"Are these arbitrary decisions taken by security staff or is it a BMRCL rule? Will your staff take responsibility for the safety of women commuters when they make them exit the stations after disarming them with the one self-defense option they had at their disposal?" Ponnathpur wrote on twitter. "If these are arbitrary decisions taken by individuals, @cpronammametro has to issue a directive to all the staff across all stations not to confiscate pepper sprays from women. If it is a BMRCL rule, it definitely needs a quick reconsideration!" he added. 

BMRCL Chief Public Relations Officer told DH that there was never a ban on carrying pepper spray in the metro stations. "In one or two stations, the security staffers decided to confiscate them. However, following concerns by passengers, we have instructed the staffers to allow them," he said. 

Another official said the leak of aerosol canisters may cause breathing problems in the closed environment of metro trains. "The issue was discussed. But no decision was taken to ban them," he said. 

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