An all-women India Reserve Battalion will be raised in Jammu and Kashmir to primarily deal with incidents like stone-pelting, a home ministry official said on Thursday.
The move comes days after girl students were seen fighting pitched battles with security forces at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar on 24 April, the day the educational institutions in the restive Valley reopened after a five-day shutdown.
The exclusive contingent will be among the five IRBs the Centre has sanctioned for the state grappling with persistent violence.
The women battalion would also be assigned other law and order duties but its personnel will be primarily deployed for tackling protesters, the official said.
As many as 1,40,000 candidates have applied for 5,000 posts in the five IRBs. The home ministry decided to go for an all-women battalion after discovering that 6,000 applicants were women.
The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the Rs 80,000 crore development package announced for Jammu and Kashmir by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
The process of recruitment to the five IRBs has started. Nearly 40 percent of the applicants are from the Kashmir valley. The response is very encouraging with nearly 30 applicants against one post, the official said.
The IRBs are being raised with an aim to provide jobs to the local youths. Sixty percent of vacancies will be filled with candidates from the border districts.
The cost of raising each battalion is around Rs 61 crore, and 75 percent of the expenditure will be borne by the Centre. Personnel of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) are normally deployed in their respective states but they can be sent elsewhere if there is a requirement.
At present, there are 144 India Reserve Battalions in the country. In addition, four IRBs each are being raised in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 12 in Maoist-hit states, besides the five in Jammu and Kashmir.