Rapid Action Force (RAF)
The Union Home Ministry established the Rapid Action Force (RAF) on 11 December 1991, with the mission of responding to large scale communal riots and related public disorders. This specially trained anti-riot force became fully operational in October 1992, and there are currently 10 battalions comprised of personnel from all communities. RAF is deployed to cover most of the politically volatile parts of the India.
In 1992, ten batallions were converted & reorganised into the elite Rapid Action Force (RAF), to deal with riots and were placed in communally sensitive areas. Young CRPF personnel with quick reflexes, maturity and un-biased views were selected and posted to these Bns. Five Battalions became functional during October 1992 while the remaining five became operational in April 1994. The area of responsibility of each RAF Bn is approximately 400 Kms radious from the Bn HQr. The special features of the RAF are that each team is independently operational and mobile. They have a distinctive uniform and have to act in zero response time. Each Coy has a Mahila component and additional Para-medical staff for first aid, rescue and relief. In between spells of duty, RAF undertake intensive familiarisation exercises in communally sensitive areas to familiarise themselves with the area. To make bridges with the public, RAF also undertakes socially useful work such as children education, adult literacy, tree plantation, medical camps, hygiene education etc. and also adoption of villages for all round focused development.
The increasing communal tensions and riots during the early nineties had been putting a serious strain on the secular structure of Indian Society. Consequently the Government took a well considered decision to set up a special anti-riot force which could reach the place of occurrence with the quickest possible speed and deal with communal riot or riot-like situation in an absolutely objective and non-partisan manner.
There was recurrence of communal riots in Maharashtra in the first week of January 1993. To help the local police to control the situation, substantial paramilitary forces, including the newly created Rapid Action Force were made available by the Centre. Army columns also were deployed to help the Administration to control the riots and restore normality.
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