The veterinary college grounds in Patna is turning out to be a major centre of attraction. Curious onlookers swarm the field since morning, while commuters cannot avoid stopping to take note of the proceedings.
Reason: The first woman battalion of the Bihar Military Police is undergoing the drills before their scheduled induction into the police force on January 17 after the passing out parade at Gandhi Maidan before chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Drawn from different parts of Bihar, the battalion constitutes of 580 women constables who have already underwent a 292-day rigorous training programme.
They can use carbines, SLRs, Insas and other sophisticated weapons and will be the first women fighting force, which will be used also for anti-naxal operations and tackle organised crime.
The Bihar government had first planned an all-female battalion to fight crime in the state in 2007. The first training centre for women police battalion in Bihar was inaugurated at Sasaram, headquarters of Rohtas district, the same year.
However, the training could get underway only in early 2011. "This women police force is different from Bihar police. Bihar is the first state to have a separate battalion for women for use in tough terrain. It was conceptualised at the behest of the chief minister. They have been given the best of training," said ADG, BMP, AK Upadhyay. The ADG said, the new battalion would be deployed as per requirement.
"They are all quite enthusiastic and practicing hard for the passing out parade. They have been stationed at BMP-5," said Upadhyay.
Incidentally, the first commandant of the battalion, Ansuiya Ransing Sahu is under suspension. She was suspended last year, while she was SP of Sheikhpura. At present, the woman battalion has a male commandant, Mohammad Rehman.
The new woman battalion has taken shape at a time when growing incidents of crime against women has drawn national attention.
Several states have plans to induct women in the police force to instill confidence in the minds of the fair sex.
With the Bihar government opening woman police stations in all the districts, the woman police force could be used there also.
"But they are basically a crack force for tough action," said another senior officer.
Bihar had also planned a couple of years ago to recruit women home guards for deployment in rural areas. The government had identified 1582 vacancies of woman homeguards.