For the first time in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, three women commandos, who formerly fought against security forces alongside naxals, took part in an anti-Maoist operation in which two ultras were gunned down.
Kosi, Phulo Markam and Kavita Kashyap, all assistant constables belonging to District Reserve Group (DRG), carrying automatic rifles, fought alongside their male counterparts against the armed cadres in the gun-battle yesterday, Bastar Superintendent of Police R N Dash told PTI.
The three women were earlier active as naxals in Bastar and surrendered before police last year, expressing their willingness to join the mainstream. The two maoists were killed last morning in the encounter in Burgum police station area that lasted about an hour, with a joint squad of DRG, Chhattisgarh Armed Force and district force in restive Sanguel forest.
"It was for the first time in Bastar district when women commandos accompanied forces in the operation conducted deep inside the naxal hotbed," he added. After the surrender the three joined police force and were enrolled with state's DRG- a locally raised force of personnel recruited from among local youths and surrendered naxals, for activities meant for countering Maoists.
"If Maoists can have women in their ranks, why not the security forces. These women commandos have been given special training in combating insurgency," the SP said. About a dozen women personnel are working shoulder-to- shoulder with men in the DRG in Bastar.
However, women DRG commandos have also been deployed in other districts of Bastar division (comprising 7 districts), the SP said without disclosing the exact number of such women personnel engaged in combat role in counter-naxal operations.
These women commandos have been given advanced field crafts and tactics training at forces camps, the SP added. Citing operational benefits of deploying local women combatants in LWE (left-wing extremism) areas, Dash said these personnel can easily interact with local women and children, which help them get closer to locals.
Besides, most of the recruits in DRG are surrendered naxals, having served with the outlawed CPI (Maoist), they are aware of the movement of ultras in forests, their schedule, habits and the operational pattern, he said.