Central Reserve Police Force | History, Roles

The CRPF was originally constituted as Crown Representative Police in 1939, however, it later became Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949 following independence.
Central Reserve Police Force | History, Roles

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is India’s largest armed force of the Union of India functioning under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for internal security. It’s primary role is to assist the State/Union Territories in police operations to maintain law and order and counter insurgency.

The CRPF was originally constituted as Crown Representative Police in 1939, however, it later became Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949 following independence. The Act constituted CRPF as an armed force of the Union. Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel, the then Home Minister, visualized a multi-dimensional role for it in tune with the changing needs of a newly independent nation.

It was raised as a sequel to the political unrest and the agitations in the then princely Indian states 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 preserve law and order as a part of the imperial policy.

As of today, it has completed 83 years of glorious history. Official data states that the force has now grown into a big organization with 246 Bns, (including 208 executive Bns, 6 Mahila Bns, 15 RAF Bns, 10 CoBRA Bns, 5 Signal Bns and 1 Special Duty Group, 1 Parliament Duty Group), 43Group Centres, 20 Training Institutions, 3 CWS, 7 AWS, 3 MWS/SWS, 4 Composite Hospitals of 100 bed and 18 Composite Hospitals of 50 bed.

Roles –

  • Crowd control

  • Riot control

  • Counter Millitancy / Insurgency operations.

  • Dealing with Left Wing Extremism

  • Overall co-ordination of large scale security arrangement specially with regard to elections in disturbed areas.

  • Protection of VIPs and vital installations.

  • Checking environmental de-gradation and protection of local Flora and Fauna

  • Fighting aggression during War time

  • Participating in UN Peace Keeping Mission

  • Rescue and Relief operations at the time of Natural Calamities

The CRPF also plays an active role in the General election. This is especially true for the trouble torn States of J&K, Bihar and States of Northeast. During the Parliamentary elections & State Assembly Election , the CRPF played a major role in the security arrangements.

Additionally, the armed force is also involved in guarding vital Central Govt. installations such as Airport, Powerhouses, Bridges, Doordarshan Kendras, All India Radio Stations, residence of Governers and Chief Ministers, Nationalised Banksand other Government establishments in insurgency affected States.

Successful missions -

During the early 1950s, the performance of the CRPF detachments in Bhuj, the then Patiala and East Punjab state Union (PEPSU) and Chambal ravines was appreciated by all quarters. 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 Kutch, Rajasthan and Sindh borders to check infiltration and trans-border crimes. They were, subsequently, deployed on the Pakistan border in Jammu and 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 October 21, 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 21 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 Maldives, Kosovo and Liberia to deal with law and order situation there, as a part other UN Peace Keeping Force.

In the late seventies, when the extremist elements disturbed peace in Tripura and Manipur, CRPF battalions were deployed in strength. Simultaneously, there was a turmoil in the Brahmaputra Valley. The CRPF had to be inducted in strength not only to maintain law and order but also to keep lines of communication free from disruption. The commitments of the Force continue to be very high in the North East in dealing with the insurgency.

Sectors -


RAF - Rapid Action Force or RAF is a specialized force, raised in October 1992 initially with 10 unattached battalions and increased with 5 more units in 2018. These units primarily deal with riots and riot like situations, to instill confidence amongst all sections of the society and also, handle internal security duty.

CoBRA battalion
CoBRA battalion

CoBRA - The Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA) was constituted for guerrilla/jungle warfare type operations for dealing with extremists and insurgents, etc. The government had approved the setting up of the force and sanctioned raising of 10 unattached battalions of CoBRA in CRPF, with a Sector Headquarter for these battalions headed by an Inspector General.

Mahila Battalions
Mahila Battalions

Mahila Battalions – the CRPF has six Mahila (Ladies) Battalions. At present mahila personnel are deployed in active duty in Jammu & Kashmir, Ayodhya, Manipur, Assam and other parts of the country ln addition each RAF battalion has a Mahila (Ladies) component consisting of 106 personnel. Besides, 242 Mahila personnel also authorized in 241 Bastariya BN.

CRPF has a national character and composition and is known as Miniature India. Even at section level, people from all parts of the country are mixed up. They are peace custodians and sentinels of India's integrity.

CRPF is a gallant, glorious, vibrant and resilient force. Its past is replete with pinnacle performance and success in many fields and is acknowledged by the public. Thus, the myth of CRPF duties conjured an image of doing dangerous duties successfully.

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