Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Women com­man­dos guard roads in Red belt

- Ritesh Mishra let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

RAIPUR: In the heart of Maoist stronghold of Bas­tar in south Ch­hat­tis­garh, a road open­ing party now com­prises only women po­lice com­man­dos.

The Ch­hat­tis­garh po­lice de­ployed 60 women com­man­dos re­cently to guard the road in south Sukma, where 25 CRPF com­man­dos were killed in a Maoists am­bush last April. Around 60% of the rebels who par­tic­i­pated in the raid were women. “The women con­sta­bles want to fight Maoists and there­fore, we have trained them for 70 days in Sukma and de­ployed in hard­core Maoist area of south Sukma in road open­ing party,” said Sukma’s su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice Ab­hishek Meena.

The wo­man com­man­dos in­clude sur­ren­dered Maoists and those who joined the po­lice through the nor­mal re­cruit­ment process.

A road open­ing party en­sures safety of work­ers where a road is un­der con­struc­tion and pro­vides se­cu­rity to any­one trav­el­ling on the par­tic­u­lar stretch.

Armed with au­to­matic weapons, these com­man­dos will guard one of most dan­ger­ous patches in south Sukma from Dor­na­pal to Ja­gar­donga, of­fi­cials said. The road where the women com­man­dos have been de­ployed is about 56 km and is un­der con­struc­tion.

There have been 12 en­coun­ters be­tween se­cu­rity forces and Maoists since the road’s con­struc­tion be­gan four years ago. A total of 32 se­cu­rity per­son­nel have been killed in these en­coun­ters.

On Sun­day, Maoists al­legedly torched the only bus con­nect­ing about 50 vil­lages in the re­mote Sukma dis­trict on the same road where the CRPF troop­ers had been am­bushed. The bus ser­vice was rein­tro­duced in May 2017 af­ter 12 years.

Af­ter induction of the ini­tial batch, the Sukma po­lice are plan­ning to train more women con­sta­bles.

“They (women com­man­does) are brave and well­trained,” spe­cial DGP (an­tiMaoist op­er­a­tions) DM Awasthi said. “They are also very ef­fec­tive in coun­ter­ing Maoists’ pro­pa­ganda of rape charges against cops.”

 ?? HT ?? A wo­man com­mando of Ch­hat­tis­garh po­lice stands guard at a road build­ing site in Sukma.
HT A wo­man com­mando of Ch­hat­tis­garh po­lice stands guard at a road build­ing site in Sukma.

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