• Woman CRPF Officer Mans Maoist-Hit Bastar

    A woman officer of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is trying to ensure peace in the Maoist hotbed Bastar.

    Usha Kiran (27), an assistant commandant with CRPF’s 80 Battallion, is posted on duty in Bastar, taking care of the operations in the area. Currently, including her, only two women CRPF officers are in-charge. The other one is Archana Gaura, who is in Kondagaon, another insurgency-hit area.

    But the place Kiran is manning is a severely Maoist-affected area. Kiran, who voluntarily opted to take control of the region, was first given three options and she chose the tougher one. “I preferred to come to the Naxal-hit Bastar because tribals are innocent and development is not happening because of Maoist violence,” she said, as Hindustan Times reported.

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    When the recent brutal encounter in Chhattisgarh made national headlines, the region came in the wake of allegations that the security forces had allegedly raped and sexually assaulted 16 tribal women during an operation in October 2015, (the National Human Rights Commission reports stated). Amidst many more similar operations that continue to take place, Kiran’s placement is a relief for the tribal women who are terrified during raids in the insurgency-hit region.

    “Her presence is good as the tribal women are always terrified during the operations,” said a resident of a village near Darbha valley.

    Only two days ago, a five-day operation was reportedly conducted by the state police and the CRPF.

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    Prior to being the CRPF officer, Kiran was a former national athlete, who represented Delhi in triple jump.

    Sanjay Yadav, the CRPF DIG for Bastar region, praised Kiran. “She helps the security forces during raids in the Maoist-affected villages. Secondly, her presence helps to counter Maoist propaganda of rape and molestation by security forces.”

    Coming from a Gurgaon-based family, being in the CRPF zone is not new to Kiran. Her grandfather and father had also served the force.

    In Kiran’s presence, the villagers feel comforted. “I talk to the women. They are scared of male cops and officers. But with me, they are more relaxed,” she pointed out.

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    “She is a welcome addition to the force,” explained Vivek Uike, the officer-in-charge of Darbha police station.

    Security forces are hopeful to see Bastar’s image change under Kiran’s leadership. Hats off to the gritty officer!

    Feature Image Credit: Hindustan Times

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