BENGALURU: Seventeen young women, mostly from villages across Karnataka, are training to shoot, handle explosives, rappel, rope walk, handle terror, as they build grit and endurance, for 12 hours a day. What will emerge is a lean, mean team -- the first batch of the all-woman Garuda commandos of the Karnataka Police.
The special operational team Garuda, Karnataka’s own anti-terror force, was formed in 2010, and for the first time this year, the department will be training 50 women to join the force. Pre-induction training is on at Bengaluru’s Centre for Counter Terrorism for these 17 women, under the Deputy Director, Lt Col Rohit Nayak and his team led by Superintendent of Police M L Madhura Veena.
“They will form the first all-woman commando team and are undergoing training to handle any kind of terror attack or save victims of such attacks,” said Madhura Veena, the only woman SP in the Centre for Counter Terrorism, of the Internal Security Division (ISD). The Response Counter Terrorism Team will be based in Bengaluru, and can reach any part of the city in 30 minutes. The commandos will be deployed in areas with high concentration of IT-BT companies, besides sensitive areas, including coastal Karnataka.
ADGP of ISD Bhaskar Rao has been appreciative of these youngsters coming from humble backgrounds but with enough grit to be trained into commandos with special counter-terrorism skills such as handling weapons, Improvised Explosive Devices, explosives, rope work and communication, CAD (computer aided design) and navigation, medical first aid and PIN (planning, intelligence and negotiation) etc.
“First batch of Women Garuda Commandos with 17 girls have started.
Few are enthusiastic few want to go back. But a very strong willed SP, Madhur Veena is spending full time. The girls are amazing quick learners,” Bhaskar Rao tweeted on Saturday. However, when the girls were asked why some of them want to go back, Uma Devi, from a village in Bidar, said, “It is difficult initially. During basic training, after we clear constable post, it’s not so rigorous. Here we are trained in handling weapons, ropes, besides tackling obstacle course,” she told TNIE.
Umashree, 26, a constable with Karnataka State Industrial Security Force, added, “I was among the first two women who began training two months ago with men for the same force. In an emergency, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman. You have to have grit, focus and physical strength to bear all this. We motivate women who come for training.”
Rizwana agrees, saying that though her parents work in the fields in a village in Kalaburagi, she had always dreamt of joining the police force and is fascinated by the stars on the uniform. “I will make it big here, I know. I will continue with training,” she says. After two months of training, they will have to write an examination, after which they will be inducted into the team ADGP Bhaskar Rao has been very encouraging and also motivates the team to stay strong and committed, said Madhura Veena.