CRPF’s 1st woman officer in Bastar turns role model for tribal girls

RAIPUR: At a time when para-military forces are battling an image crisis in Bastar following charges of rape during anti-naxal operations, first woman officer of Central Reserve Police Force to be posted in the Maoist hotbed in Chhattisgarh is inspiring tribal women to get educated and join uniformed service.

The 27-year-old Usha Kiran feels that apart from serving the battalion, it’s also her duty to inspire local tribal girls to take up education. Usha said having education and a strong mind-set would give tribal women more power than possessing an AK-47 assault rifle.

“Women here are skeptical to talk to forces, without their guardians or male family members. Even children refuse to take chocolates. They are reluctant to meet outsiders and uniformed forces,” she said.

She serves the difficult terrain in the forested areas of Bastar and during off-duty hours, she spares some time to help school-going girls in their studies in her camp.

“Being newly trained, we feel we are able to serve efficiently during combat in the naxal-affected region with our high-motivation and physical strength. This is like truly living the desired life of guns and roses,” she told TOI over phone.

 Kiran, an assistant commandant with CRPF’s 80 battalion now deployed in Maoist-infested Darbha valley , is being looked up as an icon by women. She joined 232 Mahila Battalion during her one year training course. She requested the seniors during training to allow her to serve under the male battalion in a left-wing extremism infested state, or J&K or North-East front areas. The directorate allowed her to serve in the naxal-front in Bastar.