Delhi Police cadets from the Northeast fight stereotypes
Photos by Raj K Raj
Text by Prawesh Lama

Till last year, there were only 37 men and women from the Northeast in Delhi's 80,000-strong police force. After incidents of hate crimes against people hailing from the Northeast triggered strong protests, the government inducted over 400 constables, including 134 women from the eight sister states. For a city that was notoriously unfriendly towards its northeastern population, especially women, this was an important step.

Nearing the completion of their training, the young women constables are set to join the force. But before they can don their badges, there is grueling training, packed with physical activities, commando training and classroom lectures, with hardly any moments to spare in between.

As part of their intensive preparation, the women cadets have fired AK-47's and INSAS rifles, Glock and 9MM pistols and MP 5 sub machine guns.

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Responsibility on their shoulders: For nine months, their days have been packed with back-to-back sessions of physical endurance tasks and weapons training at the police training college in south west Delhi's Dwarka.
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From books to baton: Rajmoti Limbu (centre) was a school teacher in Sikkim. Limbu says she wanted to serve as a cop in Delhi.

Robin Hibu, joint commissioner of police (training) and nodal officer Delhi Police's Northeast unit, said the young constables are smart, fluent in English and will be posted across police stations where there is a sizeable population of the youth from the Northeast.

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Breaking the language barrier: In Delhi, it is essential for them to read and write in Hindi. Here a young woman constable is learning from a third standard text book. To help them become fluent in Hindi, hour-long classes are held every afternoon.
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Food Break: After a rigorous first half of training, the young women gather for lunch at the mess canteen. After every meal, they write their feedback about food quality.
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Starting on a prayer: Their day begins with an early morning reading of the Bible in their dormitory.
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Work, Sweat, Achieve: The women cadets' day starts at 6 in the morning. They return to their dormitory only after 11 hours of exercises, training, physical tasks and classes. Many admit they miss their families back home but say duty comes first.
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Learning the ropes: Rope climbing, one of the many tasks they must complete as part of the physical training every morning. Being physically fit is a priority in their preparation to respond to any disaster in the city.
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Caught off-guard: A constable fixes her beret before attending a class on different techniques of investigating a crime spot.



Produced by Zehra Kazmi
Designed by Ravi Bajpai