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State to raise IRB for Women

Women police constables at a training session. (file)
Correspondent Kohima, Jan 16(NPN):
Published on 17 Jan. 2009 1:00 AM IST
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Nagaland is all set to become the second state in the country after Gujarat, to have an all-women armed battalion (IR) that would break another all-male bastion where women with sophisticated weapons will be marching shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. Despite initial reservations and apprehension from certain sections of the society, the state government is going ahead with the process of raising the first all- women Indian Reserved Police Battalion in the state under the name ‘Mahila Battalion”. The Union Home Ministry had made the offer to Nagaland to raise the IR women battalion and later gave its nod when the state submitted its proposal. “We’re going to raise the Mahila Battalion very soon and we’re on the process of advertising for recruitment”, said state Home Minister Imkong L.Imchen in an exclusive interview to the Nagaland Post. Once recruited, the Mahila Battalion will undergo the same training as their male counterparts in IR battalions and also perform the same duties. “They will undergo the same course with their male counterpart during the training and there will be no relaxation”, Imchen said. Further he said the women IR battalion will be initially based at Dimapur. Presently, there is only two such exclusive armed women police battalions in the country, one the CRPF and Gujarat Police (IR). “All state chief ministers are pressing the centre for raising the same Mahila Battalion in their respective states” , Imchen said citing the a recent meeting held in New Delhi where chief ministers had made the plea. Despite the state government being upbeat about raising the Mahila Battalion , certain sections of the society including senior police officers in the state PHQ were skeptical about the effectiveness of such a force. “ Women are considered the weaker sex and are physically and biological weaker than their male counterpart. If they’re deployed for VIP duties such as house guard or RAP duty, then there may be incidents when anti-social elements would take advantage and try to overpower and snatch their arms”, said on officer speaking on condition of anonymity. Another point raised by skeptics was marriage and motherhood when women in the force get married. “When they get married and have a family, there will be family problems. Also the women jawans would find it difficult while returning home late at night after performing duties unlike their male counterpart” said the officer He also said male counterparts would have to provide security to women IR wherever they(women) are posted on duty. State Home Minister Imkong L Imchen however brushed aside such apprehensions saying that “ people may have apprehension before it is tested” and sounded optimistic. On the problem of height, the minister said it that instead of SLR, the women could be armed with smaller weapons such as AK series and INSAS. He also agreed that there could be some difficulties when women in the Mahila Battalion get married and raise families. To tackle this, Imkong said that there could be an initial moratorium period particularly during the training period when the women will be barred from getting married.

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