Now, women guards at Wagah border ceremony

Now, women guards at Wagah border ceremony
Attari (Amritsar):  For the first time in over four decades, women personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) have been made part of the routine Beating Retreat Ceremony at Wagah on the Indo-Pak border at Attari.

The BSF, which guards the country's border with Pakistan and Bangladesh, appointed women constables last year to perform duty on the international border. But their role was confined to routine patrolling and managing crowds.

"Women constables were inducted into the frontier force for the first time in the history but only on an experimental basis," BSF DIG Mohammad Aquil said.

On their new role at the Beating Retreat Ceremony which draws large crowds during sunset every day, Aquil said, "We would watch for a few days the performance of women. It is a very hard job and if they feel comfortable and don't receive any injury, only then they would be allowed to continue," he said.

Women are assigned to lead the ceremony by marching towards the iron international gate, where the flag posts of India and Pakistan are located.

The decision to depute women constables comes in the wake of the border guarding forces on the two sides agreeing to tone down their aggressive postures at the ceremony.

Earlier Pakistan Rangers was adamant to continue the parade with red eyes in aggressive gesture and show thumb to the Indian forces, whereas the BSF shunned the practice long back.

The ceremony during which Indian and Pakistani flags are lowered just before sunset has been an attraction for years. Though it is a symbolic un-hoisting of flags, the drill had earned the tag of being one of the most aggressive of its kind.
Story First Published: July 22, 2010 19:30 IST

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