Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned five new battalions of anti-riot and crowd control Rapid Action Force (RAF). These new battalions will be stationed at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesg), Hajipur (Bihar), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Mangalore (Karnataka) and Nuh (Haryana). With these, the total number of RAF battalions in the country has gone up to 15. Varanasi will be fourth base of RAF in Uttar Pradesh- the three others being in Meerut, Allahabad and Aligarh.
Rapid Action Force (RAF)
RAF is a specially trained and equipped wing of Central Reserve Police Force, the country’s largest paramilitary force or Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) with over 3 lakh personnel. It was formed in 1992 to deal to deal with riots, riot like situations, crowd control, rescue and relief operations and related unrest. It is headquartered in New Delhi. Its motto is “Serving Humanity with Sensitive Policing”
RAF battalions are based in various parts of the country in order to cut down response time and rush the teams in shortest possible time to counter an incident. The 10 old RAF battalions are based in Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Aligarh, Delhi, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur, Bhopal and Meerut.
Single RAF battalion has strength of just over 1,000 personnel and it is equipped with gadgets and non-lethal weapons like, tear smoke grenade launchers, pump action guns and others to enforce security and law and order in case of protests or riot-like situations.