The CRPF has appointed two women officers from its cadre as Inspectors General (IG) of its specialised anti-riots unit RAF and the Bihar Sector. This is the first time that the RAF will be headed by a woman IG. An IG is the head of the sector in the CRPF.

The proverbial glass ceiling in the country’s largest paramilitary force with 3.25 lakh personnel has broken after a long wait of 35 years as the first women officers joined the Central Reserve Police Force in 1987.

There have been women Indian Police Service (IPS) officers heading CRPF formations and at present there are at least three such officers in the force.

Officials said as part of a recent transfer/posting order issued by the force headquarters here, Annie Abraham has been appointed as the IG of the blue duangree donning Rapid Action Force (RAF) while Seema Dhundia has been posted as the IG of the Bihar Sector.

Both officers joined the paramilitary force in 1987 as the first batch of women officers. They have also commanded an all-women Indian police contingent at the UN.

They have been decorated with the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, Police Medal for Meritorious Service and the ‘Ati Utkrisht Sewa Padak’ during their service, a CRPF spokesperson said.

Abraham told to media that the appointment “was an honour for her and she would work to take RAF to a higher position.” The 15-battalion strength RAF is deployed for anti-riots, counter-protests and sensitive law and order duties in various parts of the country and is called in to assist state police forces during important events where heavy crowds are expected and also for VIP visits.

The Bihar Sector of the CRPF commands about four battalions of the force that are deployed for anti-Naxal operations and other law and order duties apart from some small units of the RAF and the jungle warfare unit CoBRA.

The CRPF was the first Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) to induct women in combat in 1986.

It has six such battalions at present with women constables filling more than 6,000 posts in these.