Fully trained & nowhere to go
Their combat skills and their levels of training are not in doubt, as the recent National Security Guard Raising Day parade showed. However, slithering down 1,000 ft from an MI-17 helicopter to a perfect landing may have been easy compared to what the women commandos of the elite agency raised to take on terrorists and hijackers may face next: how to find positions commensurate with their expertise.
Despite the fact that their training sessions are as gruelling or rigorous as that of their male counterparts, the women commandos have to deal with questions about their "special" biological and physical conditions now that it has come to actual deployment in the field.
The most common excuse given to hold them back is their physical build, emotional quotient and family pressures. Officers who trained them were heard discussing at the parade day that they tend to "get out of shape" very easily. While a male commando is apparently found to be fit even when he is 40, the performance of women, the officers said, took a slump in the 28-30 age bracket.
A solution was found in trying to assign the women commandos to the security detail of women VIPs. However, even here, the NSG brass was in for a shock. At least two of these VIPs, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her Uttar Pradesh counterpart Mayawati, rejected the idea of women commandos protecting them.
A non-plussed NSG has now found a way out, comparing the situation with the Indian Army. "Even the Army doesn't use them (women) in operations. How can we?" say top officials.
Vijaita is a special correspondent based in Delhi
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