Sunday afternoon was a moment of reckoning for two women constables of the 74th Battalion of the Border Security Force as they confronted a Pakistani intruder inside the Indian territory at the Dera Baba Nanak border outpost in Gurdaspur district.
The two women showed exemplary courage by shooting down the intruder. Aarti, 23, and Reena Kaur, 24, are the first women in the BSF to have pulled off the feat. And the BSF authorities were quick to recognise the feat.
BSF DIG PS Bains gave them cash awards and commendation certificates besides writing to the BSF headquarters to offer departmental honours and incentives to them.
Bains told Hindustan Times that a large number of women organisations and NGOs from across the country had contacted him to honour the two. He said BSF additional inspector general Himmat Singh would arrive at Madhopur on May 3 to bestow departmental honours on them.
Aarti, an arts graduate, has a C certificate in NCC and wants to pursue M Sc IT privately along with her job. Reena, who is also pursuing her studies privately, would soon take her BA-2 examination.
Aarti comes from Mona Singh village of Hoshiarpur and Reena Singh’s family lives in Nathu Singhwala village in Baghapurana tehsil of Moga. Both Reena’s brothers are in the army while Aarti’s grandfather had also served the army.
Both were posted at the Dera Baba Nanak border outpost when they spotted the Pakistani intruder trying to cross over to the Indian territory by crossing the wheat fields. The two took their positions and let him come close to the zero line. As soon as he crossed the Indian border fencing, they asked him to stop. But the 32-year-old Pakistani intruder did not take them seriously. Seeing that the BSF constables on duty were women, he rushed towards them to overpower them when the two constables opened fire from their 5.56 MM guns, killing him on the spot.
Aarti fired seven shots while Reena fired two; Reena, meanwhile, kept Company Commander Surjit Singh updated on every movement of the intruder. When she sought his advice, he reportedly told them to shoot him down in case he had entered India illegally.
The constables said they had done their families proud by doing their duty.
Aarti always had a passion to join the BSF, while Reena said it was her first attempt at a job and now she felt that she had been cut out for this. Bains said these women had sent a message to other girls to join the BSF.
Both the women said they would enter matrimony only after improving their qualification and possibly after getting a promotion.