With increasing number of women in Indian armed forces joining combat roles, Central Reserve Personal Force (CRPF) Director General Prakash Mishra has said that women personnel from the force will soon be pressed into anti-Maoist operations in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Mishra said that if Naxals can fight with women cadres, why can’t CRPF forces. He said that the women forces in CRPF can fight in a better way.
Mishra said few chosen companies drawn from its four ‘mahila’ battalions will be soon sent for strict combat training and special tasks, and then the women contingents will be sent for final deployment.
CRPF is hosting Seventh National Conference for Women in Police this year and Mishra was speaking ahead of this event.
Officials said the women personnel, once deployed, will be operating from active CRPF bases and will carry arms and undertake patrols like their male counterparts. Out of the five battalions of the CRPF women personnel, four are deployed and one is under raising. Women personnel, even those deployed in J&K, are largely restricted to administrative or law and order duties.
Women as yet have not been pressed into combat action.
Some two years back, CRPF has sent a unit of women fighters to Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh in combat operations.
It was part of a pilot project launched to assess feasibility of pressing women personal in Naxal-hit areas.
The project went well and one of the senior CRPF officers said that they want women to come and fight alongside men.
“We are now in the process of creating infrastructure for women to be able to function in Naxal areas.”
Female troops from the CRPF have undergone a special training programme in jungle warfare and are ready to take on the rebels in the jungles of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
But the lack of infrastructure, which includes toilets, has been one of the hindrance in deploying women in tough operational areas.
The strength of the country’s six paramilitary forces is over 9 lakh, and there are just over 18,000 women personnel, which makes their representation in the central forces less than 3 per cent.
The nearly three lakh-personnel-strong CRPF is the lead anti-Naxal operations force of the country. it is also the country’s largest paramilitary force. Officials say women personnel can better interact with local women folk to gather good intelligence, and it also helps in bringing the forces closer to the locals and villagers.