They’re young and ambitious, as well as armed. Possessing the same drive to make it in life as any urbanite, the men in question are security officers, fresh out of training academies across the country. They are all currently on duty at various venues of the Commonwealth Games.
Aged between 18 and 25 years, most of them are eagerly awaiting either new postings or short leaves, after the Commonwealth Games get over on October 14. Others, such as 23-year-old Virender, a Delhi Police commando, are looking forward to the rest of their lives. “I joined the force after one of my friends told me that the food and exercise routine would toughen me up for life,” said the resident of Saharanpur, UP — an inter-school kabaddi champion back home, as he stood on guard outside the Major Dhyanchand National Hockey Stadium.
More than 12,000 of the 80,000 Delhi Police officers, on duty during the Commonwealth Games, are fresh recruits. This is in addition to the 800 Naga women officers of the Indian Reserve Battalion.
Virender said he is already a hero to the children in his neighbourhood. “They hijack their elder brothers’ cellphones when we talk and pester me to send them pictures of me in uniform,” he said.
Shankar (21), a Delhi Police constable from Bihar’s Purnia district had different motivation. “The family elders wanted me to take up farming as all others in the family. I’m standing here because I wanted to prove otherwise,” he said.
Head constable Sivadas (25) of the Andhra Police looked forward to promotion on his return. “I’ve put my heart into the job and learnt many things. I hope my seniors feel the same. I can’t wait to be back on familiar streets again,” he said.