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BSF Engage Women Commando In Night Patrolling For First Time

2015-08-16 23:45

BSF women commando with night vision camera patrolling Indo-Bangla border in Gede in night. Picture by PRANAB DEBNATH

BSF Women commando patrolling rail tracks near Gede in night. Picture by PRANAB DEBNATH

BSF women patrolling along the international border in Nadia during day time. Picture by SOVON CHAUDHURI


Gede (Nadia), Aug. 16: Breaking the proverbial glass ceiling, the women commando personnel of Border Security Force for the first time in the state’s south Bengal frontier have been engaged in patrolling of the Indo-Bangladesh border during night in Krishnanagar sector. 

The deployment of these women personnel at important stretches of the 235-km long sector spread over North 24-parganas and Nadia district, have been done on emergency basis in the wake of the red alert issued by the centre on Wednesday for a possible terror attack on the eve of Independence Day.

Patrolling the border by the women personnel is not at all new in the BSF as they were earlier used in Western India’s Pakistan borders. The duties of the women personnel are quite equal with their male counterparts. But, in South Bengal sector their role in night was largely limited to guarding office premise and protecting the border outposts adjacent to border roads.

However, the October 2, 2014’s blast in Burdwan’s Khagragarh has opened the eyes of the BSF authorities.

Role of the ‘innocent’ look women like Razia Biwi in the blast and their acumen in weaving a terror network that stunned the authorities led them not to take any risk.

“We always try to ensure maximum vigilance so that none could sneak into our territory. Nevertheless, none can apprehend a desperate terror attempt. Intelligence input indicates that even a woman with terror link may try to sneak in disguise of a cattle smuggler. The Bangladeshi terror outfits like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) is quite active in border areas, who have recruited many young homemakers and given them terror training. For the male personnel combating of a suspected woman or frisking her is a quite difficult task. So these women personnel were pressed into action for obvious reasons to face any situation”, said a BSF officer in Gede.

As a result for the past three days women constables of the BSF’s 113 battalion posted in Gede area of Nadia, are on toes round the clock along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Donning camouflage uniform women personnel like Rina, Moushumi, Sushmita have set the Indo-Bangle border road blazing in the dark nights with sophisticated Insas and Beretta guns in their hands and night vision cameras in eyes.  They were found busy in night duties guarding the international rail tracks connecting Gede with Darshana in Bangladesh used by Indo-Bangle train service Maitree Express and vulnerable stretches of the border.

“This is a challenging job. I have been enjoying it”, said a lady constable who was recruited in 2012.

Inspector General of BSF’s South Bengal Frontier Sandeep Salunke said: “Being recruited as constable any women personnel supposed to perform all the duties like their male counterparts. They have been trained to undertake any type of operations. So it is quite natural that they be engaged in night patrolling too”.

BSF started recruiting women constables from 2009 for Punjab and Bengal borders. At present it has over 2000 women personnel, who have also imparted commando training. The force to empower the women personnel more, has recently recruited 27 officers in the rank of Assistant Commando through UPSC.

Senior BSF officials said, even though there is no strict rule against engaging the women commandos in night vigilance, the Force, nevertheless “carefully” avoided such deployment.

“A red alert situation requires reinforcement of personnel along the border; we require huge number of personnel for patrolling. So to manage the situation we deployed the women personnel too for area dominance and patrolling jobs during night along important stretches of border”, said an officer.

As a result, the women personnel whose duties were so far restricted mainly to day-time jobs like managing fencing gates, checking villagers, frisking female suspects, securing female apprehend and infiltrators, assisting in interrogation, maintenance of office records at the border outposts, participation in the civic action and day-patrolling have now been extended to night patrolling too.

A senior officer of BSF said: “The woman commandos have so far been used in a very limited way in night duties. In western border they were first used for night patrolling. In other borders, their night duties were largely restricted in guarding office campus or the border out posts. In Bengal they are first time being used for patrolling and area dominance during night”.

“In South Bengal, the male personnel so far largely undertake such patrolling. But, after six years since the first batch was recruited, the women personnel are now well trained and can undertake any operations”, a BSF officer said.

IG South Bengal Frontier Sandeep Salunke said: “We often have problems in frisking local women many of whom involved into smuggling activities. This frisking job and challenging their movement becomes tougher during night particularly. In such situation women personnel role is important”.

Job of the women personnel in day light has now earned great importance too.

An officer said: “Many villagers have their fields and houses across the barbed wire fencing. Locals frequently cross border for different purposes. Many also involved with smuggling rackets. They often try to smuggle small fertilizer bags, drugs, gold biscuits, silver and even led cattle smuggling gang in night. We were earlier unable to frisk these women. In nights frisking becomes difficult as villagers often raise allegations of molestation against our male jawans. Local political parties also support the villagers as they have also nexus with smuggling rackets. But, things have changed once the women constables have been deployed along the border”

“Direct noticeable involvement of women involved into suspected criminal activities in border areas have also come down largely as the women personnel also undertake random combing in villages adjacent to the border”, the officer added.








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