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Republic Day 2019: All-women Assam Rifles contingent sends shivers

As they marched past Rajpath, the President, Prime Minister and other dignitaries cheered them on as thousands of spectators broke into thunderous applause.

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Republic Day 2019: All-women Assam Rifles contingent sends shivers
An all-women contingent of Assam Rifles marches past the saluting dais at the 70th Republic Day Parade at Rajpath in New Delhi on Saturday
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An all-women contingent from Assam Rifles created history on Saturday by marching on the Rajpath at the 70th Republic Day parade for the first time.

The 146-member contingent of the Assam Rifles led by Major Khushboo Kanwar signified the changing times and changing rules by showcasing the undeniable presence of women power in the forces.

As they marched past Rajpath, the President, Prime Minister and other dignitaries cheered them on as thousands of spectators broke into thunderous applause.

Female spectators were the most thrilled. Talking to DNA, Sujata Vashishth, a spectator said, "I got goose bumps when the women walked past all alert and sharp. It was a proud moment to see one of our own breaking the glass ceiling and how."

The leader of the team, Major Kanwar, who is the daughter of a bus conductor, is the first Contingent Commander. An AC officer, she was commissioned into Army in 2012, and is currently on deputation with the Assam Rifles.

Another unique feature of the contingent is that some of the jawans are kin of martyred soldiers and are carrying forwards their legacy after being recruited in place of their family members.

For instance Rifle Woman Sunita Thapa lost her husband in an accident while he was on leave. And she is now trying to fulfil his dream to serve the nation. The mother of a five-year-old said that her family is proud of her soldier avatar.

Her colleague Gayatri Sharma, who was recruited around two years ago in place of her father, felt honoured to be part of the parade. She recalls receiving a letter from the Assam Rifles to join the force over a decade after her father attained martyrdom.

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