RAIPUR: As many as 35 polling stations in Maoist-hit Bastar division will be guarded solely by women commandos of Bastar Fighters during the first phase of assembly polls in Chhattisgarh on November 7. One booth will be under the watch of transgender cops.
In six of the seven districts of Bastar division, women voters outnumber men. There are 10.4 lakh women voters compared to 9.9 lakh men.
This is the first time all-women teams are guarding these many booths.In Bastar, at least, the transgender-guarded booth is a first.In 2021, 451 women from the interior areas of Bastar were recruited in the Bastar Fighters’ special force, raised from the local tribal population. The aim was also to encourage the native population to work for peace and progress of the region that has been hit by the insurgency for decades.
After 18 months of basic and jungle warfare training, these young women are carrying out operations in their respective district units.

When the local administration began chalking out security deployment plans for the assembly elections, the women commandos are learnt to have volunteered for it, expressing their desire to make a “positive impact” in their first-ever election duty. Senior police officials decided to hand over the security responsibility of 35 polling stations to them.
Following SOP, the authorities are yet to disclose details of where the women Bastar Fighters will be deployed. Bastar Range IG P Sundarraj told TOI that it’s an important step towards providing “more meaningful and inclusive opportunities to women police personnel in challenging tasks”.
“We have decided to hand over security arrangements of 35 polling stations exclusively to women commandos and one polling booth to transgender police personnel who have been recently inducted,” Sundarraj said, adding: “We are hopeful that it will send a positive message in society with regard to gender sensitization and gender equality.”
Transgenders will guard the Pakhanjore polling booth in Kanker district, close to the Maharashtra border.

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