CHENNAI: Every morning begins with a roll call for V Shalini, 36, a head constable with the 10th battalion of Tamil Nadu Special Police in Ulundurpet. The weapon allotted to her is a lathi (stick), but a few years ago, the same hands were holding a P-90 sub-machine gun and guarding the Prime Minister as part of his close protection team (CPT) in the elite Special Protection Group (SPG).
Meet 36-year-old V Shalini, the first woman from Tamil Nadu police who was part of the PM’s CPT between 2015 and 2018, and is trained in handling advanced weapons, VIP security, close protection and house protection. She is an inspiration for many young police recruits from Tamil Nadu who aspire to get into the elite unit.
Driven by poverty, Shalini joined the Tamil Nadu Special Police in 2005 as a constable and later completed her graduation in mathematics. “In 2008 when I was working in the Police Training College as a computer operator, I was posted to the newly formed Tamil Nadu Police Academy as the parade instructor,” said Shalini.
She was training probationers when a group of officers from the SPG spotted her and asked her to attend some exams and physical tests.
“In 2013, my senior inspector Bhaktan took me to TNPA SP P Nagarajan and they broke the news that I was selected for the SPG. I landed in Delhi and underwent tests again as I was joining two years after the selection process happened. I cleared them too,” she recalls.
After four months of rigorous training alongside 35 men, she was posted at the house of Sonia Gandhi. “Towards the end of 2014, my superiors announced that they were going to recruit people for CPT for PM Narendra Modi and I expressed willingness,” she explained.
After undergoing five months of rigorous training she joined the elite CPT. “During my introductory meeting with the PM, I introduced myself as Shalini from Tamil Nadu police … it was a proud moment for me,” she says.
In 2018, she had to leave the force to look after her mother in Tamil Nadu. “Some senior officers did not want me to leave. I was called the Iron Lady by them. But I had no other option and returned to my parent unit,” she said.
Now she takes care of the battalion camp. DGP Sylendra Babu said that she will be transferred to a suitable department soon.