The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is India’s largest Central Armed Police Force. It functions under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India. The CRPF’s primary role lies in assisting the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency. It came into existence as the Crown Representative’s Police on 27 July 1939. After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949.
Besides law and order and counter-insurgency duties, the CRPF has played an increasingly large role in India’s general elections. This is especially true for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir(erstwhile State), Bihar and in the North East, with the presence of unrest and often violent conflict. During the Parliamentary elections of September 1999, the CRPF played a major role in the security arrangements. Of late, CRPF contingents are also being deployed in UN missions.
With 246 battalions and various other establishments, the CRPF is considered India’s largest paramilitary force and has a sanctioned strength of more than 300,000 personnel as of 2017.
The mission of the Central Reserve Police Force shall be to enable the government to maintain Rule of Law, Public Order and Internal Security effectively and efficiently to preserve National Integrity & Promote Social Harmony and Development by upholding supremacy of the Constitution.
In performing these tasks with utmost regard for human dignity and freedom of the citizens of India, the force shall endeavour to achieve excellence in management of internal security and national calamities by placing Service and Loyalty above self.
- The CRPF was derived from the CRP (Crown Representative’s Police) on 27 July 1939 with 2 battalions in Nimach [Means North Indian Mounted Artillery and Cavalry Headquarter], Madhya Pradesh. Its primary duty at the time was to protect the British residents in sensitive states of India.
- In 1949, the CRP was renamed under the CRPF Act. During the 1960s, many state reserve police battalions were merged with the CRPF. The CRPF has been active against foreign invasion and domestic insurgency.
- On 21 October 1959, SI Karam Singh and 20 soldiers were attacked by the Chinese Army at Hot Springs in Ladakh resulting in 10 casualties. The survivors were imprisoned. Since then, 21 October is observed as Police Commemoration day nationwide, across all states in India.
- On intervening night of 8 and 9 April 1965, 3500 men of 51st Infantry Brigade of Pakistan, comprising 18 Punjab Bn, 8 Frontier Rifles and 6 Baluch Bn, stealthily launched operation “Desert Hawk” against border posts in Rann of Kutch. It was to the valour of Head Constable Bhawana Ram deployed on the eastern parameter of Sardar Post whose gallant act was to a great extent instrumental in demoralising the intruders and forcing them to retreat from the post.
There are few parallels of such a battle and the then Union Home Minister very appropriately graded it as a “Military Battle” not a Police battle. The service and their sacrifice will now not need turning back to old records for appreciation with that historic moment being picked up for celebration as “Valour Day” of the Force after Year.