The commandos demonstrate their skills in Dehradun on Wednesday. (Courtesy: State Information department)
About five years after she joined Uttarakhand police, Usha, earlier this year, came to know about the formation of the first woman commando force in the state. She volunteered to take part in a pre-commando training and qualified for the next level of training.
On Wednesday, Usha and 21 other policewomen undergoing the training at Police Training College in Tehri Garhwal district, demonstrated their skills in public. These 22 policewomen are being trained in combat operations of anti-terror, city and jungle warfare, multi-weapon handling, bomb disposal and unarmed combat so that they can join the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
On Wednesday, they demonstrated skills such as assembling advanced weapons with blindfold in less than 30 seconds.
Usha said their daily training sessions last up to 22 hours. “We have been trained in urban warfare, counter terrorism and handling all types of weapons. Our training is going to be completed soon and after that we will be given field duty,” she said.
“This move of creating a women commando force is a step towards women empowerment. I feel physically and psychologically stronger. My self-confidence has increased and I will use this experience to combat enemies,” said Commando Anjana Belwal. Commando Parvati said she has learnt to handle weapons like AK-47, pistol and dagger. About the improvement in firing skills, Commando Amita Kohli said her confidence is high and added, “Ek goli-ek dushman (One bullet, one enemy).”
After the demonstration by the trainee women commandos, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat stressed on the need for self-defence training for girls in schools and colleges to boost their psychological strength. The Chief Minister also highlighted the role of five women officers in leading rescue operations in Chamoli in the wake of the recent flash floods.
These 22 women are from civil police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and were recruited five years back. Two of them are police sub-inspectors. They were shortlisted for the training after they cleared a pre-commando training at Arms Training College, Haridwar, from January 8 to 30.
According to officials, names of women interested to join the commando training were sought from all wings of state police earlier this year and 38 women from civil police and PAC reported at the training centre in Haridwar for pre-commando training. Twenty-two of them could qualify, said officials.
“It’s a three-month course. Half of the training is over. The rest will be completed in March. After that, they will be ready for deployment at Kumbh as commandos,” said Rajeev Swaroop, DIG and Director, Police Training College, Narendra Nagar. Swaroop said combat duties by the woman commando force will inculcate a sense of empowerment and self-confidence among other women and a powerful message will be sent that men and women are equal if trained well.
DGP Ashok Kumar said that besides the objective of women empowerment, recruitment of trained women in anti-terrorism squads has become important when terror outfits are recruiting women. “These 22 trained women commandos will be made part of ATS and deployed in Kumbh Mela first and later on different duties.”