Charu Sinha, a 1996 batch IPS officer, will take charge next week as the first woman IG of CRPF in Kashmir. She has been appointed as the inspector general of the Central Reserve Police Force's Srinagar division, which commands J&K's capital, Budgam and Ganderbal
Given the fact that policing in Kashmir is unlike any other job in the Valley, appointment of a woman officer in the rank of IG has generated a lot of interest. But CRPF says that Sinha's ability as a police officer, and not her gender was the reason for the decision. "Her gender, if anything, will be an asset for the CRPF in Kashmir," Special DG CRPF Zulfiqar Hassan told News18.
Ravideep Sahi, who served as IG Srinagar till March this year, called the Srinagar posting 'one of the most challenging'. "Being an IG in Srinagar sector is very challenging because IG here looks at deployment for all of central Kashmir, plus maintenance of law and order in Srinagar city, which is very volatile," he said.
Sinha is currently posted as IG CRPF, Jammu sector. Her counterpart in Jammu from J&K Police, Mukesh Singh, told News18 that the officer will prove to be an asset to the CRPF in the Valley. "She is extremely efficient and has a humane side to her personality which will help CRPF reach out to the local people," Mukesh Singh said.
Sinha had personally intervened when Mumbai watchman Arif had decided to cycle home to Rajouri to meet his ailing father. "I am waiting for him to meet his father and hug him. That will bring me great joy. For this reason, the ability to serve, I love this job," the 1996 batch IPS officer was quoted as saying by her colleagues.
On the question of gender, all officers News18 spoke to said that alienation of the people in the Valley has been aggravated after the decision to end Kashmir's special status. LG Manoj Sinha has been touring extensively, giving a message of reaching out. A woman officer at the top position could help further in the outreach. "People trust a woman more than a man in a conflict situation. In Srinagar, lady officer could bring more to the table," Hassan said.
Officials in Jammu also highlighted how Charu Sinha's insistence on following the rule book and laid down standard operating procedures, could help the forces that have often come under attack for violating SOPs. "She is a stickler for rules and SOPs, has a reformist bent of mind. Sinha thinks about welfare of the jawans, their issues of leaves, depression, etc which sometimes leads to suicides," a police officer, who didn't want to be named, said.
When News18 reached out to Charu Sinha she was dealing with a suicide case in Jammu and said given the seriousness of the situation she was dealing with, she won't be able to talk at length. Sinha, however, did say that the gender question in forces is of interest to her. She has even proposed 'Bharosa' — a one stop care center for women in Jammu.
A Hyderabad girl with origin in Uttar Pradesh, Sinha has served in the Naxal areas of Bihar as IG CRPF. She has also served in the Anti-Corruption wing of Telengana police from where she was abruptly moved to CRPF. Police officers in Telengana said her sudden transfer as director of Anti-Corruption Bureau did raise eyebrows in IPS fraternity. It is commonly believed that her transfer was a result of her cracking the whip on corrupt officials with political backing.