Indian brides given bats to beat abusive husbands

Indian brides given bats to beat abusive husbands
The bats have messages like "police won't say anything" (Twitter)

Hundreds of Indian brides have been armed with bats to beat off abusive husbands.

In the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, 700 brides at a mass wedding were given traditional laundry bats, stamped with messages like "for use against drunkards" and "police won't say anything".

Gopal Bhargava, the minister of social justice and rural development, said women should use them to protect themselves if their husbands become drunk or abusive.

"If your husband or any other member of family comes home drunk, treat him with it," he said.

Mr Bhargava has ordered nearly 10,000 bats to hand out to women who have just married.

Alcoholism is an increasing problem in Indian society.

"Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent. Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor," he told AFP news agency.

Mr Bhargava hopes his initiate will lead towards social change.

"The government or police alone would not be able to solve this problem. For this, people have to come forward. There are many examples in history which show that when masses intervene, things have changed for the better," he told the Press Trust of India.