People in Karnataka would very well remember the riots because of the Cauvery issue. The violence saw active participation from a lot of women including one who set fire to a few buses belonging to private operators. That, along with a few other riots which saw increased female participation, has made the Karnataka Police Department finally agree to take women into the force. The mission was to start training and appointing women for the Karnataka State Reserve Police which had more than 14,000 men and not a single woman till then. Talking about that decision to The Times of India, Suneel Kumar, Additional General of Police, said,
“The number of women participating in agitations and protests has been on the rise in recent times. This requires the police to change their strategy while monitoring agitations or while containing riots. The male personnel cannot be allowed to take action against women who participate in agitations.”
Thus began the journey for Sowmya (one of the trainees) and 63 others who belong to the first batch of women recruited for bearing firearms for the government. The recruits have been undergoing rigorous training for a period of nine months that started this February. Apart from these women, 44 women are trained in a battalion in Belagavi. All these women are graduates and surprisingly, a lot of them are mothers, too. It has been possible to pursue this dream because of the constant support from their families. Sowmya told The Hindu,
“I have always been fascinated by the police force. We train hard for the whole week. I get time every Sunday to spend with my family,”
Another trainee, Shobha from Bagalkote district, said,
“My father is a farmer and he wanted me to appear for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations. He thought doing an engineering course would help me in cracking the Civil Services exam. Even now, I am preparing [for the Civil Services],”
These women are being trained in arms training, swimming, and unarmed combat, among other things. Though they still have more than six months of training waiting, the women are already feeling confident.