The riots in Delhi this year were a "big conspiracy" to disturb the country but security forces like the Rapid Action Force (RAF) played an important role in "suppressing the elements that spread anarchy" during the time, Union minister Nityanand Rai said on Wednesday.
The minister of state for home was addressing RAF troops on the occasion of the force's 28th anniversary, or raising day, at a Central Reserve Police Force camp here. The RAF is a special anti-riot wing of the CRPF and was raised in 1992. "A big conspiracy was deployed to disturb the country through the Delhi riots that took place this year. The RAF played an important role in suppressing the elements that spread anarchy and ensured peace," Rai said in his address to the troops.
"You suffer damage and injury during riots and protests...but you use force only when violent groups start troubling the peace of society," the minister added. The RAF was deployed during the communal violence that broke out in northeast Delhi in February, killing 53 people and injuring about 200.
Delhi Police has filed multiple chargesheets before a Delhi court in these cases. The RAF has 15 battalions (over 15,000 personnel) based in various parts of the country. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also greeted RAF personnel on the occasion. "Greetings to RAF personnel and their families on their 28th anniversary. RAF has distinguished itself in dealing with the challenges relating to law and order," the minister said on Twitter.
"Time and again, their commitment in several humanitarian works and UN peacekeeping missions has made India proud," he added. Rai, who reviewed a parade of the RAF personnel at the CRPF academy here, said maintaining internal security and peace are "two very important" factors for the development of a country.
He lauded CRPF personnel for killing top commanders of terror groups operating in the Kashmir valley and said the force has worked to defeat "Pakistan sponsored" terrorist activities in that region. "These are big achievements made by you," he said. CRPF Director General A P Maheshwari also addressed his troops and said security forces and special units like the RAF now have a new challenge in the form of fake and inciting messages spread through social media.
"Earlier, the protests were supposed to be countered in the physical space but now we see radicalisation being spread through cyber space," Maheshwari said. He added that his force is prepared to tackle these new challenges. Maheshwari said the CRPF will undertake a mega awareness campaign on COVID-19 related protocols in the country. The aim, he added, is to reach about 12 crore citizens.
"A meeting was held in the home ministry yesterday...it was decided that a campaign underlining three things, wearing a mask, washing hands and ensuring social or physical distancing, should be ensured by everyone to check the coronavirus spread." "All the security forces, including the CRPF, will undertake this campaign in their respective areas. We aim to get in touch with 12 crore people through our 1,600 bases in the country over the next 100 days," the DG said.