Railway Police Force (RPF) Foundation Day is observed on 20th September every year. To be part of the armed forces is a matter of pride and honour. There are many branches of armed forces to choose from. In recent years, a new police force, Railway Police Force came into reckoning. It was constituted to provide protection to the railways; protecting and safeguarding of railway property, passenger areas, the passengers and their belongings.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) can trace its origins to 1882. During the British rule, it was a ‘watch and ward’ force. "Watchmen" were appointed to guard railway property and monitor the smooth and free movement of the railways. Most railways were then operated by British companies.
On 20th September, 1985, the RPF Act, 1957 was modified by Parliament and was given the status of Armed Forces. ‘RPF Raising Day’, as it is called is held to commemorate this occasion each year.
With time, additional duties have been entrusted to the RPF, viz., dealing with offences related to roof travelling; touting; unauthorized entry into coaches earmarked for ladies; trespassing; unauthorized vending; escorting of passenger trains in vulnerable areas; to remove any obstruction in the movement of trains, on railway property or passenger area.
They act as a complement/support to the State Governments for reinforcement of security of the Indian Railways.
RPF has had to help the police and the paramilitary forces guard railway installations and trains against terrorist attacks in the recent past.
The force has also contributed with all its support to manage railway disasters in the country.
RPF also assists the state police in maintenance of law and order at the time of elections and other emergencies.
To address the safety concerns female passengers, RPF has recruited women inspectors.
Celebration and Honours
‘Raising Day’ is one of the most precious celebrations and the platoons of different railway zones put up an impressive show through various walking off parades highlighting the performance and discipline in the force. There is march past in slow time, march past in quick time, salutes, presentation of medals; gallantry medals, medals for distinguished services, meritorious services, and fire services.
Buglers and bands display their musical skills. Dog shows are organised to show how a dog is trained to detect buried bombs and hidden explosives carried by people.
Welfare exhibitions are organised and all serving and retired personnel, widows and dependents of deceased personnel are invited.
Modernisation programmes and new initiatives are inaugurated so that they get proper publicity and importance.
What we can do
In this time of increased turmoil and tension, it is important to reflect on those who rush to protect us no matter how grave the danger. We must not forget their sacrifice and efforts and help them discharge their duties.