At a function held on the birth anniversary of late Sena chief Bal Thackeray at Lalbaug in central Mumbai, Shiv Sainiks distributed Chinese retractable knives to women so that they can protect themselves.
"Mr Thackeray used to say women should prefer a Rampuri in their purse rather than a lipstick," Shiv Sena's south region "vibhag pramukh" Ajay Chaudhry said, defending the initiative.
"The government has failed to provide security to women, so we are distributing these knives to help them defend themselves," he added.
According to law, a knife below six inch blade is permitted, a Sena member said. The knives distributed today were China-made knives with three inches blade.
Asked if the Sena leadership was aware of the knives distribution programme, a senior Sena leader said the event was held at the local level.