Two women officers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Seema Dhundiya and Annie Abraham, have been promoted to the rank of Inspector General for the first time on Wednesday after their induction into the force in 1987.
Inspector general Seema Dhundiya will head the Bihar Sector of the CRPF while IG Annie Abraham will be posted as the head of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) of the CRPF.
Notably, the Rapid Action Force of the CRPF is being headed by a woman officer for the first time since its raising in 1992.
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Speaking to HT, IG Annie Abraham said, “No doubt about it, that it is a great achievement so far.”
Abraham added, “The paramilitary forces are extremely challenging for women. We remain in one of the most difficult areas of the country, and that is precisely what we are there for- be it counter-insurgency, be it anti-terrorism, be it elections. So, it is absolutely challenging for women on account of meeting the typical expectations of the family, as well as to meet the professional requirements. Both the things have to be managed and it’s a fine balance that women have to keep.”
“Being the first batch of lady officers in the organisation, we were the path-breakers. We came along with one battalion which was raised in 1986, and we came in 1987, so we grew with the women of the organisation. And every deployment has been challenging- whether it was being deployed in a difficult area, or being made to command a male battalion, or even women. Every aspect was challenging- mostly on account of the nature of the task being performed,” Abraham said.
IG Seema Dhundiya also expressed her happiness. “I feel good about it. There is a lot of work to do ahead but this is certainly an achievement for all women in the CRPF and we have come a long way”, she said.
Speaking to HT, Dhundiya said, “Initially when women joined the force, people were apprehensive about it. But now since more and more women are joining, the whole environment is getting conducive for them to work. A few lady officers have reached to a level where they have started acting as mentors also. Now, we have senior officers who can act as mentors for the newcomers. A lot of facilities for their welfare are also being provided to the female entrants, making a conducive environment for women to come and join.”
On the challenges she has faced being a woman in the CRPF, Dhundiya added, “It was a male-dominated organisation when we joined. In order to prove our worth, we had to put in double efforts as compared to our male counterparts. Later, everybody started accepting us and we now belong to the first batch of IG lady officers. We have reached a situation where we have a say in policy-making and people are listening to our judgments.”
Abraham said women form 3.1% of the people in the force. She also said her priorities in this new position will be to propel the RAF to greater heights, and bring women into the limelight by making the conditions better, and help women by empowering them to take on new challenges.
Dhundiya added she aims to encourage more and more females from Bihar to come forward and join paramilitary organisations, and will be propagating the idea of having more jobs for women in these organisations, as well as promoting and looking after the operational duties of the Bihar Sector, and seeing to it that her troops are comfortable and work in a thorough and efficient manner.
CRPF has a history of empowering its women warriors, holding the distinction of raising the first ever Mahila Battalion in the country in 1986. Both Dhundiya and Abraham were amongst the first batch of lady officers ever inducted into the force in 1987.
IG Dhundia rendered her services to the nation in highly sensitive areas and was actively involved in raising the 2nd Mahila Battalion of the force. She was also the contingent commander of the first ever all female FPU in the UN Mission in Liberia and had been serving as DIG in RAF.
IG Abraham, in addition to commanding the all-female FPU in the UN Mission in Liberia, had served as DIG Int in Force HQ, as DIG Ops in Kashmir Operations Sector and as DIG CR and Vigilance.
Both officers have been awarded the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service, Police Medal for Meritorious service and Ati Utkrisht Sewa Padak besides numerous other national and international recognitions.
For the Republic Day Parade 2023, MHA has assigned the responsibility to the CRPF for creating a tableau centred at women empowerment in all the central armed police forces.