CRPF - Maintaining Peace in Nation
Glorious journey of 74 years for the growth of nation
Rakesh Kumar Singh *
Helping hand from 143 CRPF : A student being presented a gift in August 2010 :: Pix - TSE
Violent conflict and absence of peace leads to weakening of politico-social institutions fractured social relationship and polarization of groups in which extremists flourish. In 20th century many countries drifted towards anarchy because they failed to maintain peace in country by controlling various kinds of conflicts. In the material process of nation building, peace and conflict resolution are sacrosanct intervention which removes not only sense of insecurity but also inspires to translate freedom into prosperity and happiness.
In the last 74 years, CRPF has remained one of such instrument of governance in the country which through dedicated services has set in motion all the creative thoughts, the citizens have dreamt. We have been able to indentify ourself as neutral, non-discriminatory and human Force with all groups across the nation as well as world too. The transition from "Heavens Light our Guide" to "Service and Loyalty" has always been for the people for their peace and prosperity.
CRPF was raised on 27 July 1939 with its composition and charter of duties in such a way that it always commanded the trust of people. With all the strain, struggle, pressures and influences in the social structure during Colonial rule and after that in the service towards "making of nation India" the CRPF professionally grew not only in numbers encouraged by technical success in being on the right side of law, but more so because of on being the right side of people's expectation, of being truthful, trustworthy and thoughtful in discharge of duties.
Raised on 27 July, 1939 as Crown Representatives Police, the Organization has countless glories as its legacy. Since beginning the CRP was trained on military lines to come "in aid of civil power" with its objective of "suppression of internal disturbances and restoration of order". Its effectiveness in fulfilling its objective with unbounded dedication and loyalty, led Sardar Patel to develop a vision to have such a nationalistic Force at the disposal of central government to fulfil the aspirations of states in a Federal structure.
Hence, Crown Representatives Police retained and renamed after independence in 1949 as Central Reserve Police Force from a retrospective effect from the day of independence. The initial strength of the Force of 1st Bn was one commandant, 7 superior officers, 30 Subordinate officers, 100 Head Constables and 870 Constables which has reached today to the strength of more than 2, 86, 359 personnel and number of establishments and Units has gone upto 377.
Since its raising, the CRPF has to rush to tackle various complex Law and Order scenario. Among the first challenges it faced was to tackle unrest against land reform bill in Bundelkhand region. Hur menace was tackled in 1942, Sind and Khairpur unrest in 1942-43 and elimination of dacoits in Balasinor state were it earliest challenges which were tackled successfully enabling Force to earn laurels for the troops. No wonder, immediately after independence its expansion was predestined. On 13 February 1948 Second Bn was also raised in Neemuch.
The then Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on 19 March 1950 presented Colours to the Force at Delhi- a glory earned by hard work and sincerity. The Internal Security operational history of Force started in May 1950 when in the state of Hyderabad, it was deployed to quell communist guerrillas in Telengana region.
Tradition Of Sacrifices
Although created to maintain internal security, this Force has done wonders in various engagements, major or minor with hostile neighbours. CRPF have had wonderful success on such fronts. In spite of being put in situation where we have to face regular army of enemies, the CRPF personnel stood on the ground. One coy of 3rd Bn CRPF was deployed to guard the Indo-Tibetan border near Hot Springs since 1957. Amidst disturbances in China on Tibet issues, CRPF was entrusted to guard Leh and its frontier Posts since 1953.
On 21st October 1959, the Chinese Army advancing in Tibet after consolidating hold on Aksai Chin Mountain launched a dastardly surprise attack with sophisticated weapons on CRPF & other police patrol. It resulted in death of 10 gallant men while one officer and several others were taken capture. But the way they fought against brute of Chinese made them hero; their sacrifices being respected internationally. It earned the honour of corps-de-elite for Indian police. Since then the place 'hot spring' is a holy place for Indian Police and we all observe 21st October as Martyr's Day.
The traditions of sacrifices have continued till date. Whenever any violent turbulence erupts, the CRPF is always the first responder. Whether it was Kashmir, Punjab or North-East or any communal riot, CRPF is being inducted impromptu - prepared, equipped, trained or not-it does not matter. No doubt, it results in initial reverses and causality but the force personnel had always tackled the situations gallantly and restored peace even at the cost of their lives.
Saga of Bravery
Never in military history, four companies of Para military forces defended post at border for 12 hours against heavy odds and repulsed the attack of a Brigade of regular army. It was the companies of 2nd Bn CRPF at Rann of Kutch in 1965 at Sardar and Tak posts and the enemies were Pakistani army. After proposing meeting of commanders on April 10, 1965 to discuss escalating tension due to stand off, the Pakistanis advanced a Brigade behind the covering fire of heavy mortars/guns towards Sardar and Tak post at about 0330 hrs on 9th April.
Fierce battle followed with the CRPF troopers forcing the attacking infantry Brigade of Pakistani Army to withdraw leaving behind 34 personnel including two officers dead and four were taken as prisoners by CRPF. Eight brave CRPF personnel laid their life in the line of duty. In memory of this gallant act CRPF celebrates 9th April as Day of Valour. Such valour has obviously changed the course of war. Pakistani Army were taken aback and had to change war tactics afterwards. Indian Parliament praised the gallant action of the Force.
CRPF has earned tremendous appreciation and recognition for its various gallant actions in the affairs of managing peace in the country. Right from George cross to Ashok Chakra and Shaurya chakra the Force personnel have been awarded with many gallantry medals for conspicuous show of bravery and dedication towards duty. Till 15 Aug, 2012 the Force personnel have been decorated with 1233 gallantry medals, in which 445 awarded prior to 1991. In 2011, 01 Shaurya Chakra, 06 President's Police medal for gallantry and 88 Police medal for Gallantry and in 2012, 03 Shaurya chakra, 12 PPMG and 58 PMG were awarded to CRPF personnel mostly for their successful operations against Naxals and militants in J&K. These decorations are highest for any Security Force in India.
The officers and men are continuously working in arduous and challenging scenario since its inception. The operational history of the Force not only helped in securing battle honours but also numerous distinguished and meritorious services medals from the President. The number of medals and decorations since 1946 reflects the professionalism of the Force.
In spite of the concept of women in the Armed Forces being comparatively recent development in modern world, CRPF had raised a full armed Mahila Battalion 25 years back in 1986. True to Indian legacy of women always coming forward to take up the fight against injustice, the mahila battalion since its raising has come up with successful professionalism to earn glories.
In developing India, the women's presence in the protests and agitations to have their demands met become more conspicuous. To tackle such women protestors we require mahila police to deal with them in human way. The visionary leadership of Force conceptualized the first Mahila Battalion-88 Mahila Battalion in 1986; which was to be the first all women battalion to be raised in India as well as the first such venture in the world.
Since its raising, the Mahila Bn has performed duties in most challenging circumstances. They took their assignment in tough and inhospitable condition with IPKF in Sri Lanka. For gallant action with IPKF, Constable Bimla Devi became the first Mahila to receive a gallantry award- the Sena Medal. The attack on parliament on 13th December 2001 by five fidayeen shocked the nation. But the exemplary courage by CRPF personnel including Ct/Mahila Kamlesh Kumari resulted in killing of all terrorists before they could enter in parliament house. The strong determination and professional skills of Ct Kamlesh Kumari was recognized with award of Ashok Chakra.
CRPF Mahila Bn was first in the world to send all female formed police unit under the UN Mission in Liberia on 20th January 2007. This contingent is having praiseworthy successes in Liberia. The mahila Battalion continues to send contingent to Liberia. The display of impressive resilience and dedication during duties by the Mahila troops has earned the sobriquet "Angel of Mercy" for their compassionate but firm approach towards duties.
The mahila troopers has taken care of the gender sensitive issues by the law enforcement agencies and also removed various traditional misconceptions and misperceptions in the Indian society. No wonder on the silver jubilee celebration of raising of mahila battalion of CRPF the first women president Smt. Pratibha Devi Sing Patil took salute of grandeur parade of all mahila contingents of three mahila battalions of CRPF on women's day 8th March 2011.
Rapid Action Force
Being nation of billion plus population in pluralistic society has its own advantages and conflicts. Sometimes these conflicts results in communal tensions and riots. Such riotous scenario in early 1990 necessitated an impartial policing to protect the secular structure of country. Thus in 1992 five battalions and in 1994 five more existing battalions of CRPF were trained to gain expertise in dealing with communal riots and rechristened as "Rapid Action Force" within CRPF. These battalions are having majority from minority groups and especially trained. This component has been so successful that in 2003, this Rapid Action Force has been presented separate colours by the then Deputy Prime Minister.
The RAF has developed USP "Zero response time" mode and had saved lives of many people from communal frenzy. The 10 RAF Battalions are located at strategic places from the point of view of communal sensitivity. In a way, its creation and presence in different pockets of county has considerably reduced the number of communal riots/conflicts taking place in our country. The RAF Bn have rendered valuable assistance in relief and rescue during various disasters like cyclone in Gujarat in June 1998, plague in Surat in 1995, super cyclone in Orissa in 1999 and earthquake in Gujarat in 2001 and many others.
Rapid Action Force has earned glories during its various international assignments starting at Haiti in 1994, Kosovo in 1999 etc. Under the aegis of UN the RAF has performed wide ranges of duties like protection and securing key installations, humanitarian compounds, providing operational support and managing crowd and many other administrative and enforcement duties. The complex ethnic and civil strife in international scenario was successfully tackled by the RAF troops to the satisfaction of international UN observers. RAF has been thus the creative partner of UN in rebuilding economic and political structure of war ravaged countries.
In 2009, the MHA has approved raising of 10 CoBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action) to meet the challenges being posed by naxalites. In view of naxal's violent and focused attacks on Security Forces; it was essential that appropriate counter strategy be evolved which strikes the naxals in their stronghold. Accordingly, in phased manner the CoBRA battalions were raised – 02 Bn in 2008-09, 04 Bn in 2009-10, 04 Bn in 2010-11.
CoBRA Battalions are well trained and adept in multi tasking skills operations in the most arduous terrain. CoBRA personnel are trained in guerrilla warfare, field engineering, tracking of explosives, jungle survival techniques along with ops tactics to fight insurgents. Specialized training programme includes jungle warfare, Ops planning and execution, physical endurance, map reading and GPS, intelligence, heli-slithering.
Special intelligence courses have been conducted under premier intelligence agencies to train troops in intelligence collection. To maintain uniformity of standards and evolution of a unique CoBRA ethos as well as training of troops, a dedicated CoBRA school of jungle warfare & tactics is under active consideration.
CoBRA Bn, true to its training and competence have killed 61 naxals and apprehended 866 suspects as well as recovered huge amount of arms, ammunition and explosives till 2011. The CoBRA personnel's efforts have also been acknowledged with 200 plus DG commendation discs. The valour and gallant actions of CoBRA have been recognized and the personnel have been decorated with 09 Gallantry medals including a Shaurya Chakra. CoBRA Commando Ashish Kuma Tiwari was awarded Shaurya Chakra for single handedly pinning down a squad of Maoists which resulted in the killing of top naxal leader.
CRPF has set many remarkable benchmarks of successes which are being followed as 'best practices' by security forces all over the country and many processes are underway to scale new heights. The leadership and men have unquestionably created conducive atmosphere for excellence in its professional outlook. With the making of nation-state India, the CRPF has evolved to face the challenges coming up due to pluralistic social complexities and ambitions of various groups.
CRPF is also playing crucial role in transferring skills and experiences to state police forces to tackle extremism and terrorism. Role of force has been progressive and inclusive in peace process and development in society. In extreme naxal affected area now CRPF is integrated into development action plan. Saranda action plan is one of such plan being executed in Jharkhand.
When extremism and intolerance are extensive in society, there is always relevance of professionally competent and impartial Force like CRPF because state needs a Security apparatus which is predictable in performance, impartial in approach and transparent in professional transactions as well as having widespread acceptability across various groups.
* Rakesh Kumar Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Commandant 69 BN CRPF at Mantripukhri, Imphal and views expressed are his personal. He can be accessed at rksingh47(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on August 01, 2013
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