Very rarely we come across the ladies who not only are protecting India but also changing the thinking of the society. Let’s meet some of them.
Shirin Chandran, Anuradha Shukla, Vasundhara Chouksey and Sneha Khatayak are among the highly trained group of first-generation women hovercraft officers of the Coast Guard. Shirin and Deputy commandant Anuradha belongs to 79 ACV (Air Cushion Vehicle) squadron of Coast Guard at Mandapam, while Sneha is posted at Haldia in West Bengal and Vasundhara at Okha in Gujarat.
The weather in Gulf of Mannar, strip of sea off Mandapam on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, the point closest to Sri Lanka is not so pleasant sometimes, it’s very hard to control the any air cushion vehicle in such weather but it is pure skills and training of these ladies who guard the nation’s shores in such selfless manner.
All four ladies are in active combat roles and it is for the first time that women officers are operating hovercraft. Commandant S. Bhattacharjee of the Mandapam station says “It is a proud moment for the coast guard to have women in combat roles, they have excelled their navigational capabilities”.
The main objective of these women and their team is to sanitize the 22 uninhabited islands in the Gulf of Mannar, the team is led by two women officers armed with full automatic riffles and pistols. The team deboard and sanitize the island one by one, search and eliminate any nefarious activities on the islands.
For the young women officers, it is an exciting challenge. “Every time I enter the hovercraft, it is a challenge,” says Shirin. “It is because whatever I do, it reflects on the person who has trained me. The men whom I am leading are looking up to me for directions.”