By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) After its successful operations conducted in the last 29 years in various parts of the country as well as the US peacekeeping missions in different foreign countries, Rapid Action Force (RAF) will now handle riots and similar public disorder in southern India as well as region up to Goa properly by 2023.
The 97th Battalion of RAF has been given the new responsibility by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his visit to Karnataka where the Minister expressed hope that the force will always “stand shoulder to shoulder with the people for peacekeeping throughout Southern India”.
Aimed at achieving the security setup of RAF, the force is being provided a new building in Bhadravathi in Shivamogga district of Karnataka.
The Karnataka government has allotted about 50 acres of land for its construction to be undertaken at a cost of about Rs 230 crores. The construction is targeted to be finished by the end of 2023, said an official source.
Administration block, residential lines, hospital, Central School as well as Sports Stadium will be constructed here in the premises of the building whose foundation stone was laid by Shah on Saturday.
A new chapter has been added in the history of the RAF which will get its proper establishments in southern India after New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
RAF, a specialised force of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), deals with riots and riot-like situations to instill confidence amongst all sections of the society and also, handle internal security duty and maintain public order.
The RAF is a neutral professional force that boasts of Zero Response Time to reach crisis points. The RAF reaches out promptly to provide security to the weaker sections of the society and its motto of ‘serving humanity with perfect policing’ is an ideal for the victims.
The RAF is part of a workforce of more than three lakh personnel CRPF, an armed Central paramilitary wing, having more than 250 battalions ever ready to protect the country’s borders, provide internal security and boost the morale of the people of the country as well as fight against Maoism.
The RAF was raised on December 11, 1991 with headquarters in New Delhi. It became fully operational on October 7, 1992, to deal with riots, riot like situations, crowd control, rescue and relief operations, and related unrest. The first five battalions were raised by October 1992 and an additional five battalions were added in April 1994.
On November 9, 2013, the RAF Academy of Public Order was established in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. In 2017, the Indian government approved an additional five battalions to be based in New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
RAF is a zero response force which gets to the crisis situation within a minimal time, thus enthuses an immediate sense of security and confidence amongst the general public.
This force also has the credit for having a separate flag signifying peace and was a proud recipient of the president’s color presented to it by L.K. Advani, then Deputy Prime Minister of India on October 7, 2003 for its selfless service to the nation in the 11th year of coming into existence.
RAF trained male and female contingents for the UN peacekeeping mission to different countries like Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia every year, continue to earn accolades and excellence in international forums for their highest order of professionalism.
The force has now been increased to 15 Battalions as five more units have been added with effect from January 1, 2018. The 15 battalions are numbered 99 to 108 and 83, 91, 97, 114, 194. It is headed by an officer of the rank of Inspector General .
The smallest functional unit in the force is a ‘Team’ commanded by an inspector, has three components namely riot control element, tear smoke element and fire element. It has been organised as an independent striking unit.
One team in a company of RAF is composed of women personnel so as to deal more effectively with situations where the force forces women demonstrators.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Rajnish Singh