Hit by huge losses due to mob fury during recent agitations, the railways has approached Meerut-based Rapid Action Force (RAF) Academy for Public Order (RAPO) to train the Railway Protection Force in crowd control, public order management and mob psychology.
This is the first time the Railway Protection Force (RPF), which is responsible for protecting railway property, will be trained to control mobs — a task officials say has fallen on the force which has had to deal with large protesting crowds on several occasions over the last year.
The training for the first batch of 182 personnel began at the academy on Monday, officials said. “At RAPO, we have trained state police and BSF jawans deployed for United Nations mission, and we train personnel after we receive request from their organisations. We received a request from the railways and have started training their men. We primarily focus on training personnel on how to maintain public order and the use of non-lethal weapons. We discuss global and domestic case studies and also analyse mob psychology,” a senior official of the institute said.
At the institute, focus is given on how to manage a mob in railway premises and prevent damage, he said. In recent years, the national transporter has suffered huge losses during the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, farmers protests, protests by students against anomalies in railway recruitment board exams.
Barely a month ago, trains were set on fire in protest against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme. During the schedule of the course, the personnel will be trained in crowd control, public order management, mob psychology, police vs public behaviour, communal harmony, fire fighting equipment, new age weapons, special vehicles like Vajra, Varun and fire tender, riot control drill, human rights, use of less lethal weapons, equipment, ammunitions and new trends in public order management.
In addition, all the trainees will also be taken to the firing range for giving practical firing exposure of less lethal weapons and munitions.
These trainees have been specifically selected from various zones and divisions of railways, mainly from Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Tinsukia, Howrah, Hyderabad, Gorakhpur, Guwahati, Kolkata, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Visakhapatanam and Mumbai.
RAPO is an institute under the Ministry of Home Affairs and is the only riot control and public order management institute in the country, headed by Akhilesh Kumar Singh, Deputy Inspector General of Police. .