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India’s ‘handgun for women’ sparks fury ‘Nirbheek’ intended as tribute to gang-rape victim

NEW DELHI, Jan 12, (AFP): A Indian handgun designed for women and named after the victim of a fatal gang-rape in Delhi was condemned by rights activists on Sunday as a disgrace to her memory. The lightweight .32 calibre revolver was developed by the state-run Indian Ordnance Factory (IOF) and can fit inside a small purse or handbag, according to a newspaper report.

The factory in the northern city of Kanpur has received 20 orders since the titanium-alloy, six-shot gun — costing 122,360 rupees ($1,976) — was launched earlier this month, the Times of India said on Friday. “At least 80 percent of the bookings are from women,” IOF general manager Abdul Hameed told the newspaper, adding that more orders were expected soon. “Expectedly, the weapon has received a very good response,” he said.

The gun is called “Nirbheek” meaning “fearless” in Hindi and was intended as a tribute to the 23-year-old student whose brutal attack in India’s capital in December 2012 sparked outrage about the levels of violence against women in India. The student was given the nickname Nirbhaya (also meaning fearless) by the media and authorities after the attack because she could not be named under Indian law.

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