This week was a big one for women in India, with Mehbooba Mufti being sworn in as Jammu and Kashmir’s first female head of state, and now, for the first time in the 181-year-old history of the Assam Rifles, a batch of one hundred women were inducted into the paramilitary force. They inducted in the presence of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju who took the salute from the female recruits at the passing out parade that took place on Wednesday at the Assam Rifles Training Centre and School in Shokuvi.
Breaking the male bastion, this batch of female personnel were selected from rallies that took place all over the country, they took year-long training programmes along the 112 males to form the latest batch of 212 recruits that were part of the parade. The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force that exists in the country with roots traced back to a police force called Cachar Levy, which was formed under colonial rule way back in 1835.
“I am so proud that our nation is moving forward in accepting the fact that women can do the same job that men can do,” said Major Joshi, the officer in-charge of the first batch of women recruits.
The female soldiers will be assigned to a variety of battalions and when needed will conduct searches, frisks and interrogation of women, practice female crowd/mob control and handle women agitators. Apart from this they will also be a part of Mobile Check Posts (MCP) and Road Opening Operations, as well as be a part of rescue teams and relief missions in times of natural disasters and communal clashes.
“This maiden initiative of recruiting women as soldiers, who in the times to come shall form an integral part of the force, is certainly a noble endeavour by the Assam Rifles towards women’s empowerment,” stated Lt Col Rahul Josan, public relations officer for Assam Rifles. As per reports, the women are a part of the Lushai Training Company, named so because the oldest Assam Rifles battalion was deployed in the Lushai hills for over a century from 1898 to 2003. In his address on Wednesday, Kiren Rijiju stated that women were no less than men and progressively contributing in all fields, leading to the development of the nations.
Feature image courtesy of Economic Times