Para Military

Peace Keepers - CRPF & RAF


D.G. Mohapatra - Public Relations Officer, CRPF Courtesy of Press Information Bureau, 1999

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the premier armed force of the Union of India for internal security. Originally constituted as the Crown Representative Police in 1939, it is one of the oldest Central Para Military Forces. The CRPF was raised as a sequel to the political unrest and agitations in the then princely states of India following the Madras Resolution of the All India Congress Committee in 1936 and the ever-growing desire of the Crown Representative to help the vast majority of the native states to maintain law and order as part of the imperial policy. After Independence, the Force was renamed as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) by an Act of Parliament on 28 December 1949. This act constituted the CRPF as an armed force of the Union. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the then Home Minister, visualised a multidimensional role for it, commensurate with the changing needs of the newly independent nation. The Force was presented colours on behalf of the President of India, on 19 March 1950.

Primary Role

The primary role of the CRPF is to aid and assist the states in internal security management. The Force has an all-India character both in organisation and in deployment. The attributes of the CRPF include its mobility, adaptability, wide spectrum of duties and graded response. This highly professional force keeps on moving from one corner of the country to the other to deal with internal security challenges. During the early 1950s, the performance of the CRPF detachments in Bhuj, the then Patiala and East Punjab Union (PEPSU) and Chambal ravines was greatly appreciated. The force played a significant role during the amalgamation of the princely states into the Indian Union.

It helped the Union Government in disciplining the rebellious princely states of Junagarh and the small principality of Kathiawar in Gujarat which had declined to join the Indian Union. Soon after Independence, contingents of the CRPF were sent on the borders of Kutch, Rajasthan and Sindh to check infiltration and trans-border crimes. They were subsequently deployed on the Pakistan border in Jammu & Kashmir following attacks launched by the Pakistani infiltrators. The CRPF bore the brunt of the first Chinese attack on India at Hot Springs (Ladakh) on 21 October 1959. A small CRPF patrol was ambushed by the Chinese in which ten of its men made their supreme sacrifice for the country. Their martyrdom on October 21st, is remembered throughout the country as the Police Commemoration Day every year.

During the Chinese aggression of 1962, the Force once again assisted the Indian Army in Arunachal Pradesh. Eight CRPF personnel were killed in action. In 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars also the Force fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the Indian Army, both on the Western and Eastern borders. For the first time in the history of Para-Military Forces in India, thirteen companies of CRPF including a detachment of women were airlifted to join the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka to fight the militant cadres. Besides, CRPF personnel were also sent to Haiti, Namibia, Somalia and Maldives to deal with law and order situation there as part of the UN Peace Keeping Force. This year (1999) also two companies are being deployed to Kosovo, Yugoslavia as part of the Indian contingent.

Between 1988 to 1999 the CRPF apprehended about 16,327 insurgents and killed 229 of them in the north-eastern states. But the force had to pay a very heavy price. As many as 363 of its personnel were killed and 661 injured during this period. The commitments of the force continue to be very high in the north-east in dealing with the insurgency. When the spectre of terrorism manifested in Punjab in the early 1980s, 50 CRPF companies were inducted there and this figure gradually went up to a peak figure of 336 companies, i.e., about 56 battalions. With the vast deployment, CRPF was able to assist the State Government to bring the situation under control. The force killed 2551 terrorists and apprehended 12,997 militants in the state. 192 of its own personnel sacrificed their lives and 500 were injured. The force had to bear the brunt of militancy in Jammu & Kashmir from 1990 to 1992 as well. Since 1988, the force has killed 561 militants and apprehended 4021 in the state. During the course of their duties 170 jawans laid down their lives and 1679 were injured.

Specialised Outfits

The Rapid Action Force (RAF) is a specialised wing of CRPF. It was formed in October 1992, to deal with riots & related unrest, with 10 of its battalions. This elite force has made its impact against the rioters and restored the confidence of the minorities. It has been very effective in dealing with communal violence. RAF has also succeeded in projecting the human face of the Government and built bridges with the public by carrying out prompt rescue and relief operations during floods, earthquakes, cyclones and outbreak of epidemics in various parts of the country. During the recent super cyclone that hit Orissa in October 1999, six companies of RAF were deployed which carried out rescue and relief operations in five worst-affected districts of the state.

Ten medical teams of the force treated about 20,000 patients and provided much-needed medical and other assistance to the victims. CRPF personnel with missionary zeal cremated about 300 decomposed bodies in the worst cyclone affected Erasama block in the state. CRPF is the only Para-Military Force in the country to have two women battalions. The first such battalion was raised in 1986 with its headquarters at New Delhi. The second battalion came into existence in 1996 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Another specialised outfit of the CRPF is the Green Force. The force has been able to effectively check environmental degradation and sustain the regeneration of local flora and fauna. Every year Green Force personnel plant lakhs of trees in various parts of the country.

Sporting Spirit

CRPF has made significant contributions in promoting games and sports. They included outstanding sports persons of national and international levels like G.S. Randhawa, Hari Chand, Ishwar Singh, Khazan Singh, Bhanu Singh, Sukhwant Singh, Suresh Chand, R.S. Bal, N. Kunjarani Devi, Jeevan Jyothi, N. Laxmi, Raja Ram Tokas, Tilak Thapa, Paramjit Singh and Rigzen Angmo.


Since its inception, the CRPF has earned 1 George Cross, 1 Vir Chakra, 1 Padma Shri, 3 King's Police Medals for Gallantry, 49 President's Police Service Medals for Gallantry, 201 President's Police Medals for Gallantry & Distinguished Service, 1585 Police Medals for Gallantry and Meritorious Service, 4 Vishisht Seva Medals, 1 Yudh Seva Medal, 5 Sena Medals, 77 Prime Minister's Life Saving Medals and one Jeevan Raksha Padak. From a single battalion in 1939, the force has now grown to 137 battalions, 13 sectors, 28 ranges, 30 group centres, 8 training institutions and 3 base hospitals. The Force has come to be recognised as an important means of ensuring internal security. It has lived up to its motto of Service and Loyalty. It has proved itself as the Peace Keepers of the Nation.