The Army today for the first time issued an advertisement in newspapers for recruiting women into the Military Police, three months after the government announced that women would be inducted into the force in the "Personnel Below Officer Rank" (PBOR) category.
The application window for recruitment of "soldier general duty (Women Military Police)" that opened today will be closed on June 8, the Indian Army said in the ad.
"In a historic decision, Modi govt has decided to induct women, for the first time in Personnel Below Officer Rank, in corps of Military Police. It's a huge step towards further empowering women and improving their representation in our armed forces," the BJP had tweeted from its official handle on January 18.
The Corps of Military Police is responsible for preserving "good order and discipline and to prevent breaches of the same by persons serving in or attached to the regular Army", the Army says on its website.
The responsibilities of those appointed in PBOR include investigation of offences such as rape, molestation and theft; military operations where the Army needs police assistance; assistance in evacuation of villages during cross-border hostilities; crowd control of refugees comprising women and children; frisking of women during cordon-and-search operations (mostly in Jammu and Kashmir); and ceremonial as well as policing duties. Besides this, PBOR personnel also run prisoner-of-war camps in conflict situations.
Military Police personnel have been part of UN mission contingents in Congo, Somalia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, the Indian Army says.
In his Independence Day speech last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that women officers recruited into the armed forces under the Short Service Commission will have the option of taking up Permanent Commission. He had described it as a "gift" to the country's "brave daughters".
However, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said last year that the Army was not ready to have women in combat roles yet. "It's because appropriate facilities have to be created for them," he said, adding that a comparison with armies of Western countries cannot be made because they are "more open".
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