Raja Syed Rather
Srinagar, Jul 2: The army Friday deployed women soldiers at various checkpoints in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district in a bid to bridge the gap between locals and the forces.
Talking to a selected group of reporters, Commanding officer of 34 Assam Rifles R S Karakoti said that Rifflewomen of Assam Rifles have been deployed at mobile vehicle check posts in Ganderbal.
“These Riffle Women have been a force multiplier and they have been bridging the gap between forces and locals. We are using them in other operations as we use our riflemen. These Riffle Women help develop a special relation between the army and the locals,” he said.
This is for the first time after north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, that the army has deployed women soldiers also known as Rifflewomen in Ganderbal. Earlier, women soldiers were deployed at Kuwpara to check the infiltration of narcro and weapon smuggling through women Over Ground Workers (OGWs). The Riflewomen were first deployed in Kupwara areas in August 2020 amid reports of narco- and weapon smuggle by militants with the help of their “women handlers.” The primary task assigned to the Riflewomen is to assist their male counterparts in the routine checking and frisking of suspected females in the vehicles passing through mobile vehicle check posts located along the Srinagar- Leh National Highway. This particular sensitive task was earlier conducted by the women police personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police. These rifle women said that besides bridging the gap between people they give the local females a role model to emulate. However, these riflewoman perform duties during operations against militants during encounters.
Rupali, a riflewoman said: “We are women and have to deal with womenfolk. So we start from that common ground. We have to be humane so that the local women repose their trust in us…We are here to serve them. We do all the duties that male soldiers do. We guard the gate, we man the bunkers, we go into cordon and search operations. There is no fear. This is part of our duty.”
Another riflewoman Joytsna said that many girls aspire to be rifle women like them. “We are proud of the job assigned to us. We are hopeful for the better coordination between common women and the army in the district.”.