Second Indian woman police contingent for Liberia flagged off

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New Delhi, Jan 21 (UNI) After the demand for Indian troops in UN peacekeeping operations, it is Indian policewomen who are eagerly sought for capacity-building missions, with a second woman police contingent proceeding to Liberia to continue the commendable work of their predecessors.

A company strong unit (125 personnel) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is leaving for the West African country on January 29 to relieve the first batch, which created history by becoming the first all women specialised police unit -- Female Formed Police Unit (FFPU) -- to be deployed by the United Nations in a peacekeeping operation.

Presiding over the farewell function, Rapid Action Force (RAF) DIG Dulal Chandra Dey congratulated the women personnel for being selected for such a challenging mission and exhorted them to keep the image of the force and country high.

Expressing satisfaction at the motivation and training of her personnel, the contingent's overall leader Commandant Rekha Sahai said they were determined to do their best and maintain the high standards of the force.

Noting that the UN mission would inculcate valuable experience in the personnel, she also agreed the additional money the personnel get for the mission -- over 10,000 dollars for the other ranks-- would make a difference in their lives too. ''They come from all over the country and levels of society. The money will definitely make a difference for them. One of the first things I asked applicants for the mission was to tell me if the money factor was a motivation for them... to be clear about it,'' Cmdt Sahai -- who has prior experience of a UN mission having served in Haiti -- said.

The deputy leader of the contingent and operational officer of the FFPU Mamta Singh told UNI that the team would endeavour to maintain the high standards and examples of the first batch.

''The activities of the first batch were highly commended both by the UN Special Representative in Liberia as well as the Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. They have also been successful in inspiring and motivating more women to join the police by their own example.... the sight of an armed woman maintaining peace has a powerful impression on the women, who have immensely suffered in the country's long civil wars,'' she said.

Deputy Commandant Mamta Singh, who has an impressive record in policing having served both in Srinagar as well as naxalite-affected districts, said the mission represented two firsts for her.

''It is both my first UN mission, as well as the first time I am leading a woman police unit.... In my stint in Srinagar, I was the only woman in the entire unit,'' she said.

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