Thirty-seven women personnel of the CRPF, the country’s largest paramilitary force, are undergoing strenuous training after being recently inducted into the force’s jungle warfare commando wing CoBRA.
This is the first time the CRPF has inducted women constables into the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), the elite wing specialising in jungle warfare and anti-Maoist operations.
“The 37 women constables are undergoing training and it covers, among other things, firing, handling special weapons, tactical planning, field craft, explosives and jungle survival skills,” a CRPF official said.
They will be deployed, he said, in Maoist-infested areas, including Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, after the completion of their four-month training in October.
In March this year the CRPF had also for the first time formed an all-women brass band.
In 2008, the Centre had raised the 10,000-strong CoBRA under the command and control of the CRPF to counter Maoists, also helping the personnel grasp Naxalite intelligence-gathering techniques and strategy. CoBRA personnel are now deployed in Maoist-affected regions across the country.
The CoBRA is headquartered in the National Capital Region and has battalion headquarters in every Maoist-hit state, including Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Another CRPF official said CoBRA commandos get an incentive of 15 per cent over and above the salary drawn by a CRPF jawan.
The CRPF has had women personnel in combat since 1986 when its first “Mahila” battalion was raised. It has six such units now.
The women troops are deployed across the country for rendering law-and-order duties, anti-Maoist operations and other operational tasks.
The CRPF, having a strength of about 3.25 lakh personnel, is the lead internal security combat unit and is also posted in Jammu and Kashmir for counter-terror operation.