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Do not allow your husband to tie the nuptial knot again while he is still married to you; be updated with the regimental number and rank of your husband. These are some of the instructions that border guarding force ITBP has compiled in a unique booklet and distributed among the wives of its troops deployed in far-flung frontier areas and in the hinterlands. The Sino-India frontier force has undertaken a first-time initiative to make aware the wives of its troops about their "rights and duties". The booklet has been attached in another book that the paramilitary has prepared to educate its jawans and their families about issues of health and personal hygiene. Over 85,000 copies of these two booklets have already been printed and dispatched to the field formations of the force. ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary, who has also written a foreword in the book, told PTI that strict directions have been issued to all the formations to ensure that these books are handed over by the troops to their families when they visit them on leave. "We got these booklets prepared by talking to experts and doctors of the force. The aim is to keep the troops and their families healthy and happy given the fact that they are deployed in hard areas where communication with the world is minimal," the DG said. The booklet for wives tells them that they should be updated and informed about the regimental number (force ID), rank, current pay, location of battalion or unit and even the number of official leaves their husbands are entitled to. "Ensure that your name is included in his service book, your name has been entered as the next of kin in the service record and all bank accounts and life insurance policies," the instructions state. ITBP spokesperson Deputy Commandant Vivek K Pandey explains the rationale behind the initiative: "The duty charter of the force is such that troops are on duty and away from home for long and visit their homes only during the leave period and it is the wives who run the household in their absence. "It was found that many jawans and their families were totally ignorant about their rights and their entitlements and hence the books were prepared to make them aware," he said. The booklet, prepared by the wives welfare association of the force, is an attempt to make sure that wives can make an informed choice and no one is able to mislead them in case of any eventuality, Pandey said. The booklet for wives also speaks about the legal rights they have: "Do not give your husband the right to marry again while he is still married to you.
If any force personnel remarries while his first wife is still alive and without her written consent, then according to ITBP rules he can be terminated from service." It also tells them in detail that a government servant demanding dowry is illegal and is a punishable offence and also about the grounds a wife can seek divorce. However, divorce is the last resort, it states. Woman can take help of family, friends and the commanding officer and the stress counsellor of her husband's battalion. The wives are also suggested to "understand" the service conditions of their husbands which are quite tough and that they should "cooperate" with them in this regard. "Inform your husband's seniors officers about any doubtful activities of your husband. Try to be self reliant and mentally strong to face any situation," it said. The health awareness guide book informs the jawans about various lifestyle diseases and ways to live healthy without indulging into alcohol or drugs abuse. It also makes them understand various aspects of healthy living and the correct procedure for undertaking daily ablutions like brushing teeth and the benefits of doing regular exercises. The health book also warns them about the drawbacks of having junk food and not adopting a healthy lifestyle and undertaking excessive stress. A special mention has been made on health challenges faced on high-altitudes and mountains as the force is largely deployed in the Himalayan region along the China border. The about 86,000 personnel strong force is tasked with securing the 3,488-km-long frontier apart from rendering a variety of duties in the internal security domain of the country including undertaking anti-Naxal operations.
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