Srinagar, April 27: To deal with stone pelting in the valley the Home Ministry on Thursday said an all-women India Reserve Battalion will be formed. This move from the home ministry came after female students were seen fighting with security forces in Srinagar on April 24. The women battalion would also be asked to look at other law and order duties but its main task will be to tackle the protestors.

Around 1,40,000 have applied for India Reserve Battalion. IRB has only 5,000 vacancies. The home ministry decided to label it as women battalion after it found that 6,000 applicants who applied for the job were women. The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the Rs 80,000 crore development package announced for Jammu and Kashmir by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.

IRB has started recruiting people and nearly 40 per cent of the applicants are from the valley itself. An official was impressed to see this figure, he said, the response was very positive and encouraging. IRB aims to hire local youths for the 5,000 posts and 60 per cent are to be filled with candidates from the border districts.

The cost of raising each battalion is around Rs 61 crore, and 75 percent of the expenditure will be borne by the Centre. At present the country has around 44 India Reserve Battalions. n addition, four IRBs each are being raised in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 12 in Maoist-hit states, besides the five in Jammu and Kashmir.