SRINAGAR: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is mulling to train women personnel for their deployment during counter-insurgency operations for searches around gunfight scenes, etc in Jammu and Kashmir, reported Hindustan Times.

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The idea was being discussed as they felt women often feel uncomfortable during the cordon and search operations by male-dominated security forces, Hindustan Times quoted CRPF inspector general (Srinagar sector) Charu Sinha as having said.

“Earlier somebody may not have thought about this but every day when we are out involved for [counter-insurgency] operations, we enter houses and there are Kashmiri women there… I realise that we cannot send [male personnel]. We do not want to offend their sensibilities. So, we thought what better way to handle it than bringing the women component.”

The central armed force is routinely involved in cordon and search operations along with police and the Army in Kashmir. Sinha said the CRPF’s operations have become more fine-tuned and technically sounder. “We have focused a lot on training…we are now stressing on our women component…”

Stating that they want women to be comfortable during searches amid allegations of harassment during counter-insurgency operations, Sinha said, “We respect the sentiments of the locals…when we are dealing with the women population, we would like them to be comfortable.”

She said it was being done on an experimentation basis. “…we have to see how they get trained,” she said, adding, their women personnel are very good, have a younger age profile, and are very enthusiastic and keen.

The senior CRPF personal said as part of an experiment, they brought in a team that worked for about six months. “We trained it, put them in the field, and tested the level of interest and competence. We found they were very good and sincere and very hard-working. Now, based on that, we have decided to take this forward.”

By March, women personnel should be on the field after four to six-week additional training. “We will introduce them into different operations and then we will see how it works out. They will get additional training here because this is a separate theatre.”

Newspaper Hindustan Times quoted Sinha as having said the women component will be doing everything that their male colleagues do. “Their training is the same as men; so is their weaponry.”

The CRPF got its first woman inspector general in Srinagar in September 2020. Currently, women paramilitary personnel are deployed at sensitive installations such as airports.

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