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22 Jun 2017

Message from dad shows cops the way - Sessions to motivate force

KINSUK BASU, TT, Darjeeling, June 21: Two text messages from a 66-year-old retired police officer to his son posted in Darjeeling police have paved the way for motivational sessions for the force.
"Walk for duty with the contingent. Don't walk alone in deserted streets or even amongst the crowd. Use helmet and lathi. Look after your juniors and be a patient soldier. I have faced similar or even worse situation in '86," read the first message from the father to his son, a senior police officer in Darjeeling town.
The second arrived a day later. "Work under superior officers. Be brave. Carry some food and biscuits. Engage sources and verify source information."
On any other day, such messages would have remained a piece of personal advice. But in strife-torn Darjeeling, they have prompted the son and some of his colleagues to lend a patient hearing to the members of the force who have been manning the winding streets of the hills daily.
"It's not easy. The terrain is unknown. The language is different and the situation, very critical. So, we have started an exercise to talk to our forces, listen to their problems and help them remain mentally alert," said the senior police officer whose father had sent him the messages.
So, what exactly are the problems the members of the force are facing?
"Sir, when we walk down the streets, they give us stern stares. We can make out they are abusing us. The tension is always so palpable. Besides, after our duty is over, we have nothing to look forward to," said a woman member of the Rapid Action Force at one of the sessions that The Telegraph sat through. "We aren't carrying enough clothes also."
Posted in the 10th battalion of the state armed police in Dabgram-Siliguri, the woman is a part of a team of 55 commandos who have been stationed in Darjeeling since June 3.
Except for a few hours off duty, none of them are without their gear - body-protectors, thigh guards, boots and helmets.
"We understand your problems. But you are a soldier here. Face them chin up. Never feel you are alone and if they stare at you, stare back," said one of the officers in the session. "Look at your uniform and feel proud about it. If you have to die, die after killing two."
Survivors of prolonged violence and wars have at times been known to be victims of what is commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with images of battle continuing to haunt them for months.
Researchers of military warfare always recall how up to half of the World War II military discharges were said to be the result of combat exhaustion.
"If ever you are feeling low, fall back on your team mates. But don't give up. We will organise for replacements. But till then, you have to be ahead of your opponent in this battle," the officer said, winding up the session for the day. (Source & Courtesy: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170622/jsp/bengal/story_158099.jsp)

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