They are lean, mean fighting machines. Armed with assault rifles, clad in combat fatigues, all of them are five-feet and seven-inches tall, at least. They are the first female troopers in the Punjab Police's elite Special Security Group (SSG).
The first batch of 21 women commandoes emerged out after a rigorous training of one-and-half month at Bahadurgarh, a historic 500-year-old fort that houses the state police Commando Training Centre, on Saturday.
Recruited by the state police for the protection of the chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, these women, for the first time in the Indian history, would be part of the inner security ring of the high-risk VVIPS.
These power-loaded women spent 45 grueling days in the scorching heat undergoing a training regimen, which has made them strong enough to take over what had exclusively been a male bastion.
During their training, they were up at the crack of the dawn for a run of six kilometers every day. They did countless push-ups, chin-ups and complex obstacle exercises. They learnt unarmed combat skills, handled a range of state-of-art weaponry and got special training in sabotage raid missions.
Sanjeev Kumar Kalra, additional director general of police (ADGP), Punjab, said, "These commando women have been given as competitive a training as men. They have proved their mettle during this course. They will be given a week's leave now. Once they are back their postings will be decided."
Kalra felt their training duration could have been a little more. "But they are fearless and competitive enough to take on any challenge. By no means have they lacked anywhere."
Once deployed, they will be the first to be included in Close Protection Teams (CPT) for VVIP security anywhere in the country.