28/04/2017 9:49 AM IST | Updated 28/04/2017 10:15 AM IST

Government Is Planning An All-Women Battalion To Fight Against The Stone Pelters In Kashmir

This is a first.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Kashmiri students shout slogans during a protest at Lal Chowk.

The government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure stone pelting in the Valley is stopped. There were pellet guns, chilli grenades and recently the security forces were asked to use plastic bullets in crowd control operations.

Now the government has planned to raise an all-women unit of the India Reserve Battalion in Jammu and Kashmir to tackle the stone pelting problem. This is a response measure after schoolgirls were seen in street protests.

A home ministry official has confirmed the plan.

The move comes days after girl students were seen fighting pitched battles with security forces at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar, the day the educational institutions in the valley reopened after a five-day shutdown.

The India Reserve Battalion is a police force raised specifically for each state, from its own population. The exclusive contingent will be among the five IRBs the Centre has sanctioned for the state grappling with persistent violence.

The women battalion would also be assigned other law and order duties but its personnel will be primarily deployed for tackling protesters, the official told PTI.

As many as 1,40,000 candidates have applied for 5,000 posts in the five IRBs. The home ministry decided to go for an all-women battalion after discovering that 6,000 applicants were women.

The issue was discussed today at a high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the Rs 80,000 crore development package announced for Jammu and Kashmir by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.

The process of recruitment to the five IRBs has started. Nearly 40 per cent of the applicants are from the Kashmir valley.

The response is very encouraging with nearly 30 applicants against one post, the official said.

Women have been recruited to the India Reserve Battalion before but the force has never had an all-women battalion, reports The Telegraph.

The IRBs are being raised with an aim to provide jobs to the local youths. Sixty per cent of vacancies will be filled with candidates from the border districts.

The cost of raising each battalion is around Rs 61 crore, and 75 per cent of the expenditure will be borne by the Centre. Personnel of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) are normally deployed in their respective states but they can be sent elsewhere if there is a requirement.

At present, there are 144 India Reserve Battalions in the country. In addition, four IRBs each are being raised in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 12 in Maoist-hit states, besides the five in Jammu and Kashmir.

(With inputs from PTI)