Shanti Tigga was the first female jawan in the Indian Army.Her fitness and skill surpassed that of her male colleagues, following which she was awarded the title of Best Trainee in the Recruitment Training Camp. She was found dead on May 13, 2013, under suspicious circumstances.
The Indian Army is the land-based branch and the largest component of Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Army, and it is commanded by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), who is a four-star general. Two officers have been conferred with the rank of field marshal, a five-star rank, which is a ceremonial position of great honour. The Indian Army originated from the armies of the East India Company, which eventually became the British Indian Army, and the armies of the princely states, which finally became the national army after independence. The units and regiments of the Indian Army have diverse histories and have participated in a number of battles and campaigns across the world, earning a large number of battle and theatre honours before and after Independence.
Shanti Tigga hailed from the Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal. She belonged to a socially marginalized Scheduled Tribe community. Several members of her family and community had been enlisted in various factions of the defence forces, which was what provided her the impetus to break glass ceilings when she enlisted in the army at age 35.She was victim to a child marriage, and spent most of her early life in the role of a housewife and mother, having given birth to two children.
Jalpaiguri is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the largest city and the headquarters of the Jalpaiguri district as well as of the Jalpaiguri division of West Bengal, covering the jurisdiction of the five districts of North Bengal. The city is located on the banks of the Teesta River which is the second largest river in West Bengal after the Ganges, on the foothills of the Himalayas. The city is the home to the circuit bench of the Kolkata High Court, the other seat being at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Jalpaiguri features the JGEC Deemed University, the second campus of the University of North Bengal, the newly built Jalpaiguri Medical College and the Biswa Bangla Krirangan/ Jalpaiguri Sports Village. It lies 35 kilometers away from its twin city, Siliguri which both merges up to be the largest metropolis of the region.
When Shanti Tigga's husband died, she was granted a Railway job as compensation. She joined the Indian Railways in 2005 and continued to work at the Chalsa station of Bengal's Jalpaiguri district for the next five years. In 2011, she signed up to join the 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of Territorial Army (TA).Up until then, women were allowed to join the armed forces in non-combat roles, in the role of officers – a fact that Tigga was not aware of. When she did find out, she said that it was "hardly a deterrent". Tigga became the first woman jawan in the 1.3 million strong defence forces.
Tigga is said to have outperformed her male colleagues in the Recruitment Training Camp. She took five seconds less than the men to complete the 1.5 km run, and completed the 50m run in 12 seconds, which was rated as excellent by senior officials. She impressed her firing officers with her handling of guns, and was awarded the highest position of a marksman. She was also awarded the title of best trainee.
On May 9th 2013, Tigga was abducted by unknown perpetrators and found tied to a post by a railway track. She was hospitalized following this ordeal, and her hospital cabin was provided with security while a police investigation began. One week later, Tigga was found hanging in a railway hospital on May 13, 2013.Her son, who was also in the cabin, raised the alarm after she didn't come out for a long time. The case was ruled to be a suicide by police authorities.
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