Home Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday said the menace of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) will be wiped out from the country in about three years.
Addressing troops of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) on the occasion of their 26th anniversary celebrations here, Singh said their action should be rapid and quick but never “reckless.”
Singh, speaking at the CRPF camp here, said districts affected by Naxal violence in the country have come down to about 10-12 as compared to 126 some time back.
The day is not far, may be in a time period of 1-2 or 3 years, that the LWE will be eliminated from the country and this would happen due to your (CRPF) determination, courage and hard work and that of the state police forces, he said.
“I congratulate you on the kind of work you have done in the LWE theatre of the country,” Singh said.
The minister said the force has killed 131 Maoists and militants this year while it has apprehended 1,278 of them and has effected 58 surrenders during the same time.
The home minister also asserted that Jammu and Kashmir, where the CRPF is deployed as the lead counter-militancy force, has been and will be an “inseparable” part of India.
Some youth there (J-K) have been misled into militancy, but this force has ensured security commendably, he said.
Talking about the specific role of the RAF, a special unit under the CRPF, during riots and protests, the home minister advised them to be prompt and rapid but never “reckless.”
All the police forces are like civilised units and they should never do anything that will label them as “brutal.”
One should know how to behave during crowd control and similar duties and should always know how much and when to use force, he said.
Singh’s comments can be seen in the context of a recent incident in Uttar Pradesh’s capital where a police jawan allegedly killed an unarmed MNC executive.
An RAF battalion has a strength of just over 1,000 personnel and it is equipped with gadgets and non-lethal weapons like pump action guns, tear smoke grenade launchers and others to enforce security and law and order in case of protests or riot-like situations.
The force is part of the Central Reserve Police Force, the country’s largest paramilitary force or the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) with over 3 lakh personnel.
It was raised and made fully operational in October, 1992. It has ten battalions (of about 10,000) based in various parts of the country in order to cut down response time to counter an incident of trouble.
The ten existing RAF battalions are based in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Aligarh, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur, Bhopal and Meerut.
Five of its new bases are in Jaipur, Varanasi, Mangalore, Hajipur(Bihar) and Nuh (Haryana).