It already has the first batch of BSF women personnel manning its border with Pakistan. Now Punjab is set to have women commandos guarding its chief minister and his deputy.
In perhaps the first such move in the country,61 of the newly recruited women constables in the Punjab Police,all of them 5 ft 7 inches or taller,are receiving training to join the inner security ring of Parkash Singh Badal and son Sukhbir. A few days ago,they were sent to the Punjab Police Commando Training Complex at Bahadurgarh near Patiala for a one-month intensive course.
The 61 have been shortlisted from the 180 women constables who joined the police force recently. Initially 100 were picked and the list was then further narrowed down.
The Bahadurgarh complex gives training to those shortlisted for the Special Security Group (SSG),which was formed some time back to guard the Badals and other dignitaries.
The women will be deployed in the Close Protection Team,that forms the last line of defence for VVIPs. Each such CPT has seven personnel armed with automatic weapons. While four members of the CTP carry a glock (an Austrian pistol),two carry an MP5 or MP9 (German submachine guns).
The women have been recruited in the inner security ring due to the fact that many women also meet the CM and Dy CM, an officer said. The women are expected to help deal with situations better,the officer said,being more disciplined and mentally more tough.
At present women security personnel are deployed at the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) and at the CM and Dy CMs residence,but they are basically meant to frisk the women visitors.
It has been decided that to start with,there will be three women in each CTP and they will carry automatic weapons as their male counterparts do. But the women will be in the CTP only if both the Badals are in and around Chandigarh. Otherwise,they will be stationed in Mohali, an officer told The Indian Express. If the plan works out,duties of the women security personnel will be extended.
There are seven CTPs deployed for the CM and deputy CM at any given time,which means 21 of the women personnel would be on these teams. They would be deployed on this duty by rotation.