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9 transgender people selected in Chhattisgarh for Bastar Fighters’ police unit

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Raipur, Aug 17: Nine transgender+ persons were among 2,100 constables selected for 'Bastar Fighters', a new specialised unit of the Chhattisgarh Police, which will be deployed in the Maoist-hit Bastar division of the state, a senior official said on Tuesday, a PTI report said.

9 transgender people selected in Chhattisgarh for Bastar Fighters’ police unit

For the first time, the state police have recruited transgender persons for deployment in the Bastar range, which they believe would add a new dimension to policing in the tribal-dominated region. "Since transgender persons will be inducted for the first time into police in the Bastar range, we are confident that it would add a new dimension and perspective to policing in the region," Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) Sundarraj P said, congratulating them on their selection.

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Of the nine successful candidates from the third gender, eight are from Kanker district and one from Bastar district, he said. The IGP said, "We would try to provide a conducive work atmosphere and facilities for third-gender police personnel so that they don't feel any kind of discrimination within the force".

They will undergo training at the Police Training School Mana, Raipur, before their induction for duties, added the IPS officer. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel's government had decided to establish a separate force, 'Bastar Fighters', to exclusively recruit local youths who are familiar with the region's culture, language, terrain, and have a bond with tribals, and made it the lynchpin in the fight against the Naxal movement.

As many as 2,100 posts were approved for recruitment - 300 each from the seven districts of the region - Bastar, Dantewada, Kanker, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Sukma, and Kondagaon. A total of 53,336 applications, including 15,822 from women and 16 from third gender candidates, were received for the 2,100 posts of constables, officials said.

After completing the hiring process, including physical and written tests, the selection list of 2,100 personnel, including nine transgenders, was released on Monday, said IG Sundarraj.

"Recruitment for Bastar Fighters has opened up new avenues for the youth of the region to actively contribute to peace and development of Bastar," he said.

During the recruitment process, special attention was given to select youths from interior areas, who earlier faced inaccessibility, lack of communication and educational facilities and other adverse challenges, said the IPS officer.

"Members of security forces had to face many difficulties and challenges vis-a-vis people in the interior forest region as they didn't have sufficient knowledge about the local dialects. The Bastar Fighters will help bridge this gap," he said.

"We are hopeful that this unit would bring in a lot of positivity to the Bastar region in the near future," Sundarraj added.

Delighted over her selection, Ratnu Ram (25), a transgender, said "I never thought even in my dreams that I would be a cop. Despite facing odds in society and families, I have made it."

The selection has not only boosted the confidence of the marginalized community but it would also change the perception of society towards transgenders, she said.

Ram, who hails from Kokpur village near Kanker town, left home last year after a fight with her family and shifted to Raipur and started living with other transgender persons.

She narrated how she encountered bullies and taunts in her village and college (in Kanker).

"I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree from a Kanker college and I was also in the National Cadet Corps (NCC). My friends and even my trainer used to taunt and tease me there. Even when I applied for Bastar Fighters, people in my village used to laugh at me. But when I cleared the physical test, a turnaround happened and everyone started praising me," Ram said.

The Chhattisgarh police, for the first time, recruited transgender individuals last year as constables. Of the 13 transgender people inducted into the force, eight belonged to Raipur district, two to Rajnandgaon, while one each hailed from Bilaspur, Korba and Surguja districts.

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