After the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) consistent efforts to deploy women troops to tackle Maoist infringement, CRPF chief AP Maheshwari recently announced that the force is contemplating on inducting women in Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA).
“We are favorably considering inducting women in the CoBRA,” Maheshwari said recently during a press conference in Delhi.
“Women warriors have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone in the force and have done wonderful tasks. I was very happy when I went to interact with the troops and women warriors said that they want to be inducted in CoBRA, the jungle warfare force,” he added.
According to media reports, the CRPF has raised ten CoBRA units with over 12,000 personnel since the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sanctioned the units. These unattached battalions undertake guerrilla and jungle warfare type operations to deal with extremists and insurgents.
The CRPF, India’s largest paramilitary force along with being the lead internal security combat unit, is 3.25 lakh personnel strong who are part of 246 battalions. Of these, 208 are executive, six are women-only, 15 are Rapid Action Force (RAF), 10 are CoBRA, five are Signal, one is Special Duty Group, and one is Parliament Duty Group.
Women started joining the CRPF in 1986 when the first ‘Mahila’ battalion was inducted into the force. In 2016, CRPF inducted an all-women troop in Ranchi and Jharkhand. The women in the battalion have been given training in arms, map-reading, and karate classes. They are also trained to live in the jungle.
In 2017, the CRPF deployed a 240-strong women’s battalion with its already existing Bastaria battalion that consists of 743 male personnel to fight against the Maoists in South Bastar, Chhattisgarh. This women’s battalion was selected from within the tribal region of Bastar so as to mediate with the people better.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)