Kohima: Meet the new calendar girls. Their photo – complete with uniform and guns — adorns the first page of the Assam Rifles 2017 calendar. The 127 women are not only part of the first women’s contingent of Assam Rifles – they also became the first to take part in law enforcement side by side with their male colleagues. The army has women officers in its ranks, but is the first time they are being inducted in the lower ranks as well.
On Thursday, the Assam Rifles women were deployed in Kohima, which was burning as protesters took to arson and violence. Government buildings, vehicles, were set on fire. Offices were ransacked and vandalized.
The women say they enjoyed the equality with their male colleagues. “We have seen for a long time that women were considered inferior in comparison to men. We now will fight shoulder to shoulder with the men,” Rifleman GD Aarti told NDTV.
The women were inducted in the country’s oldest paramilitary force last year. With a rigorous one-year training, they are ready to be deployed even in counter insurgency operations in the north east. While many of these new recruits are from the mainland states, some are local recruits as well.
The Assam Rifles is deploying them on active duty whenever required, like the violent protests in Nagaland. The Assam Rifles officers say the women have performed extremely well in their initial deployment and have a promising career ahead.
Some of the women said their role models were astronauts Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams and closer home, supercop Kiran Bedi. Others found inspiration in more intriguing areas.
“I was inspired by a Malayalam movie made by Major Ravi called “Kirti Chakra”,” said Rifleman GD Roniya Joseph. “After watching the movie I wanted to join the forces and do something for the country”.
“Before joining, I thought it would be difficult, but now I think it is easy,” said Rifleman GD H W Konyak. “If men can do it, why not us? I hope someday I can become a commando too.”
Video and News Source: NDTV