By Prakash D (IPS) :
As we observe the 82nd Raising Day of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on July27, it is time to understand the history, ethos and charter of duties of this force. CRPF, the largest Central Armed Police Force of the Union of India, was formed on July 27,1939 at Nimach as Crown Representative Police (CRP). The primary duty of Crown Representative Police was to protect the British residents in the different States of India. After the enactment of the CRPF Act in 1949, the force was renamed as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
What started as a small force with a limited mandate has grown to be the largest Central Armed Police Force comprising of 247 BNs, 56 Ranges, 43 Group Centres, 23 Sectors and 4 Zones. Its acclimatisation and adaptability to the situation is so quick that almost every Indian State today demands the deployment of CRPF for combating its sensitive domestic problems. The mission of the CRPF is to enable the Government to maintain rule of law, public order and internal security effectively to preserve national integrity and to promote social harmony and development by upholding supremacy of the Constitution. The umbrella of CRPF consists of various sub units such as Rapid Action Force (RAF), Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), Parliament Duty Group (PDG), Special Duty Group (SDG), Mahila and VIP security Battalions. The Force has also participated in all the UN Peace Keeping Missions and carved a name for itself in the World arena also.
The history of CRPF is replete with examples of courage and bravery of its personnel towards protection of our Motherland. The Force personnel have always risen to the occasion in times of necessity and have laid down their lives on the highest altar of duty in the interest of the Nation. A few such outstanding milestones which have become watershed moments in the History are recalled and narrated below.
THE INCIDENT OF HOT SPRINGS The Chinese Army attacked a small contingent of CRPF personnel on October 21, 1959 at Hot Springs in Ladakh. The valiant fight of CRPF with Chinese Army ended with martyrdom of 10 CRPF personnel and imprisonment of survivors who were later released. The brave martyrdom of CRPF personnel is remembered and observed as ‘Police Commemoration Day’ nationwide every year.
THE SARDAR POST INCIDENT During 1965, in the warlike situation between India and Pakistan, two Coys of Second Battalion of CRPF were deployed in the bordering area of India and Pakistan on Runn of Kutch area. On April 8, 1965 the 51st Infantry Brigade comprising of around 3,000 soldiers mounted an attack on the border post of Runn of Kutch which was being guarded by CRPF. The men repulsed the attack with utmost bravery and forced the Pak Army to retreat.
THE PARLIAMENTATTACK ON 2001 The security of Parliament, ‘temple of Indian democracy’ was entrusted with CRPF. In 2001, five Pakistani terrorists broke down the security network of Parliament and tried to enter into the ongoing Parliamentary session. The CRPF guards tactically handled the situation by neutralising all the 5 terrorists. A thankful nation remembers the supreme sacrifice of five personnel on December 13 every year.
RAM JANMABHUMI INCIDENT 2005 The sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi/Babri Masjid Complex was put under the security of CRPF. On July 5, 2005, 5 armed terrorists tried to storm into the complex. When CRPF Security personnel noticed their sinister moves, the terrorists were challenged and gunned down.
PULWAMA ATTACK In Jammu and Kashmir, the combined security forces had successfully gunned down many foreign terrorists last year, resulting in normalcy in the Valley. The terrorists planned an attack on the security forces to demoralise them and to affect the operational tempo of forces. On February 14, 2019, terrorists executed an IED explosion on the convoy vehicle of CRPF. All 40 personnel travelling in that bus were martyred.
AWARDS AND MEDALS Being the largest paramilitary force, it is the highest decorated force among all the paramilitary forces. The impressive medal tally is a matter of pride for any Indian citizen. A total of around two thousand Medals have been won by the Force which includes George Cross, Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Padam Shree, Vir Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Sena medal, Yudha Seva Medal, Gallantry Medals, to name a few.
BRINGING PEACE IN BASTAR CRPF is efficiently handling the internal security scenario in States affected with Maoist violence. The force is deployed in 13 out of 28 districts in Chhattisgarh. A total 27 GD Bns, one Bastariya Bn (comprising of locally recruited boys and girls) and 5 CoBRA Bns are deployed in South Bastar region to combat this menace. As a part of mandate, these CRPF units are performing Anti Naxal Operations (ANO) in the State. Slowly but progressively, forces have started penetrating the core area of Maoists. Apart from this operational policing, CRPF in Bastar has also advocated and adopted the policy of developmental policing. CRPF BNs have adopted villages in their area of deployment and act as catalyst in their development. Regular health camps are conducted in these villages which have proved to be a blessing to the local population. The CRPF carries out civic action programmes for “winning hearts and minds” of people. As a special drive, skill-based training is imparted in interior areas. The basic purpose of all these developmental activities is to connect the villagers with the main stream and to wean them away from indulging in nefarious activities. CRPF also facilitates and helps in achieving social goals like adult education drive, empowerment of handicapped people etc.
As a great help to mother earth, CRPF participates in plantation drives every year and more than one lakh saplings have been planted this year in Chhattisgarh. The force had taken upon itself the duty of propagating Anti COVID-19 measures in the interior areas. Awareness Camps and Medical Booths have been established in all the locations to help the people to tide over this pandemic.
CHALLENGES AHEAD As the size and shape of the Force has increased manifold, so also the problems and challenges. The first and foremost challenge today is to maintain the physical and mental fitness of the personnel. Adequate rest and recuperation is a must. Due to continuous deployment, training has become a casualty. The force has to evolve in the present day by using modern technology and advanced equipments. Suicides and fratricides in uniform is a matter of grave concern. As the nation is moving towards achieving the goal of more representation of women in uniform, CRPF has to mould itself to face this challenge. ‘CRPF Sada Ajay; Bharat Mata ki Jay’ (The author is an IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, currently on deputation serving as IGP CRPF, Chhattisgarh. The views expressed are personal)