BANGALORE, India (AFP) â€” Several Indian information-technology companies are ordering cans of pepper spray for their female call centre employees to use against possible attackers, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
The move follows the rape-murder last month of a 22-year-old call centre employee in the western city of Pune by a company driver, leading to fears of safety in an industry that employs 1.6 million people.
A similar incident took place in this southern Indian city, the hub of the 50 billion dollar IT industry, in December 2005.
“Several companies have approached us asking us to deliver the product,” the Bangalore Mirror quoted Rana Singh, an executive at a company that makes a self-defence pepper spray, as saying.
“They also want us to demonstrate how the product can be used,” he said.
The report did not name any of the companies requesting the pepper spray.
Software and call-centre companies are either distributing pepper spray cans to female employees or recommending they purchase the product from stores, the newspaper said.
A recent survey by the National Association of Software and Service Companies showed that women make up 30 percent of India’s information technology industry — a number that will rise to 45 percent by 2010.