July 2018 News
500-woman Unit To Tackle J&K's Female Stone-pelters1 July 2018
Times of India
Srinagar: Faced with a situation where young girls in the Kashmir Valley now throw stones at it, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has deployed over 500 women commandos to deal with such stone pelters. The special CRPF women's unit, which has been trained in combat, special operations and all kinds of weaponry including pump action guns, shot guns used for firing PAVA shells, chilli-filled grenades, tear gas shells and pellet guns, is being familiarised with the topography and dynamics of violence in the Valley. They are also being readied for night-time deployment by training blindfolded. The women troopers, CRPF said, will be armed with assault rifles as well so they can retaliate in case of a terrorist attack. They will be equipped with lightweight body protectors, helmets, wooden sticks, bullet-proof jackets and lethal and non-lethal ammunition. After 45 days of induction training at the force's Humhuma recruitment training centre in Srinagar, these women are likely to be deployed in disturbed belts of Srinagar, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Budgam and Anantnag. In case of women pelting stones during counter-terror operations or convoy movements, these commandos will take the lead while their male counterparts will assist them. Although stone-pelting incidents have come down in the Valley since 2016, over 300 incidents have been reported this year. The paramilitary force's director general Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar told TOI, 'The women were deployed in Kashmir earlier as well for law and order duties. But their use in handling extreme situations was limited.' Other CRPF officials said their action against stone-pelters, which was in self-defence, was often criticised by people and human rights groups. Inspector general Kashmir (operations) Zulfikar Hassan said, 'Deployment of more women will definitely have a positive impact on law and order duties and anti-terror operations.' CRPF already has women commandos in the Naxal belt and UN postings apart from general law and order duties in states.