Rowdies, eve-teasers, beware! Special 43 are here

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Anjana Borade took a deep breath, asked the three men holding roof tiles before and behind her to adjust to shoulder level, shut her eyes to seniors, family and photographers waiting in anticipation and brought down a powerful hand with a loud ha!!! The next moment two of the tiles lay shattered.

It was a result of 45 days of intense commando training.

She could not break the third tile held up behind her in two attempts and bowed to a cheering audience before joining her colleagues a few metres away.

The miss was to prove inconsequential as a few minutes later, Borade was declared the best of the 43 policewomen imparted commando training.

Late last year, after the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi, Mumbai Police began training women cops at police stations in the east region in martial arts to check sexual harassment in public places.

The first batch exhibited its skills to police commissioner Satyapal Singh, additional commissioner (east region) Quaiser Khalid and DCP (zone VI) Laxmi Gautam, among others, on Monday.

"Borade was a black belt in karate before she began training. She picked up the holds we taught quickly. Overall, she displayed the best technique and fitness," said her proud trainer Mani Nadar.

Nadar, who has also trained the police quick response team, will take the next batch under his wings Tuesday.

Borade, a sub-inspector at RCF Police Station, was joined on the podium by constables Manali Araj of Mulund and Tejaswi Gidh of Vikhroli.

Just before receiving a bouquet and certificate from the commissioner's wife, Gidh had smashed a burning slab of stone.

The trainees have to wake before sunrise and report at Bhabha Atomic Research Center at 6.30 am. The next three hours, they run 5 km, do a variety of warm-up exercises and practise holds, kicks and punches.

"It was hard at first to wake up so early every day as many of us live far away. But once we got used to it, the sessions were fun. I feel fit and confident. Mental toughness is important to face attackers on streets. I am ready for it," said Araj.

Gidh said she would not have able to get through the course without family support. "I have a two-year-old son and travel from Ghatkopar every day. I have not only lost weight but my confidence has also improved." In the coming weeks, the women will train students in schools and colleges across the east region before making streets safe.

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