RAF adding 5 new battalions to tackle increasing cases of violence
The paramilitary force had requested the Centre for additional manpower on previous occasions, it was only earlier this month that the request got a green light.
The Centre has increased strength of Rapid Action Force (RAF) by adding five new battalions to tackle the increasing cases of public disorder and communal violence in the country.
This is the first time in RAF’s history that it will receive a reinforcement of such magnitude after it was formed in October 1992. The paramilitary force is the specialised riot-control wing of the CRPF and mainly deals in controlling communal disturbances and violent agitation across the country.
According to a senior paramilitary officer, five battalions from the CRPF are currently being trained to be part of RAF, which till now comprised 10 battalions, each with more than 1,200 personnel. “The new battalions will don the RAF uniform in January 2018,” said Seema Dundia, DIG, RAF.
Five battalions of RAF became functional during 1992 and the remaining five in April 1994 following which no new battalions were raised keeping the number of RAF at nearly 12,000 personnel.
While the paramilitary force had requested the Centre for additional manpower on previous occasions, it was only earlier this month that the request got a green light from the Centre.
“The move will have a major effect on the capabilities of our forces,” said inspector general of RAF, KS Bhandari, who in February last year had spoken about raising five more battalions.
Other officials of RAF speaking to HT said the force has had an impeccable record in containing violent situations, especially communal riots. In fact two months after its formation, the RAF was at the forefront of tackling communal violence that erupted after the demolition of Babri Masjid.
A senior CRPF official said the move gains significance owing to the “incidents of mob violence” the country has been witnessing in the recent times. An RAF document highlighting the need for more manpower also cites the recent riot like situations as one of the main reasons for raising more battalions.
“The present RAF disposition has been found wanting more RAF units given the diverse nature of problems that are unfolding in recent times,” reads the document with HT. According to the document, the five battalions are currently being trained at Jaipur, Meghalaya, Varanasi, Patna and Siliguri.
A senior officer of RAF told HT that the five states in which the new battalions are likely to be posted are New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Controlling communal riots is however not the only duty RF performs. Other tasks include law and order duty, festival and election duties, agitation and PM/VVIP duties.