The Maharashtra government has decided to raise an all-women battalion of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) in Nagpur district with the aim of promoting gender equality. A senior official of the SRPF helped in addressing issues related to violence against women and emphasizing better protection to them on the occasion of International Women’s Day on Sunday.
The SRPF, raised as a Special Armed Force of Maharashtra on 6 March 1948, is male-dominated as there is no female-battalion till now. Additional Director General of Police (Planning and Coordination) S. Jaganathan wrote a letter to the Additional Director General of SRPF and its Inspector General (IG), Nagpur Range on 4 March, stating that the force did not have a woman-battalion.
Jaganathan mentioned in the letter that the state government has directed the formation of a women-battalion at Katol in Nagpur. He said, “As the state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has directed the formation of a women battalion of SRPF at Katol in Nagpur district, the planning and coordination office of the state police decided to increase the battalion.”
He further directed the SRPF’s Nagpur Range IG to find sufficient land near Katol to establish the battalion’s headquarters. Since the force does not have a women battalion, Jagannathan has also instructed his Nagpur range IG to prepare a detailed proposal to make necessary changes in the SRPF Act-1951 and send it to the state police.
A senior SRPF official said, “The SRPF is a male-dominated force so far and the inclusion of women will definitely help address issues related to gender-based violence and provide better protection to women.” The force currently has about 16,000 male police personnel. In particular, Katol is the constituency of NCP leader and state Home Minister Deshmukh.