The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) celebrated its 53rd Valour Day on Monday. On the occasion, vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu paid tributes to the martyrs of the force at an event held in New Delhi.

“I feel honoured to stand here today to pay homage and salutations to the brave Martyrs of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the occasion of Valour Day for their supreme sacrifice, in New Delhi today,” posted the vice-President on his official Twitter handle.

CRPF, one India’s five central armed police forces (CAPF), was formed in 1939. It is the largest of the five forces by active personnel and is tasked with maintaining law and order and counter insurgency.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala were the other leaders who paid their respects to the martyrs.

But what is the significance of the ‘Valour Day’ or Shaurya Diwas? The CRPF celebrates 9 April as Shaurya Diwas to commemorate the defence of the Sardar post in the Rann of Kutch at the onset of the Indo-Pak War of 1965.

In the intervening night of 8 and 9 April 1965, about 3500 men of 51st Infantry of Pakistani Army invaded India at Sardar post.

The Pakistani Army comprised 18 Punjab battalion, 8 Frontier Rifles, and 6 Baluch battalion. Their mission was to capture the Indian territory defended by the post.

The post was guarded by two battalions of CRPF – roughly 150 soldiers. Compared to the Pakistani Army, the CRPF soldiers were no match in terms of arsenal. Additionally, the terrain was disadvantageous for the defending forces.

A fight ensued in which the Pakistani Army made three attempts to overrun the post. But the CRPF soldiers thwarted every attempt with a brilliant display of courage and strategic intelligence.

The battle lasted for 12 hours. In the end, the Pakistani Army fled the battleground leaving behind 34 of their men dead, which included two officers. Another four soldiers were captured alive.

On that night, the CRPF lost six of its brave soldiers. Ever since, the day is celebrated by the CRPF as the Valour Day.

Till date, 1,413 heroes of CRPF have been honoured with gallantry awards including 1 Ashok Chakra, 1 Kirti Chakra, 1 Vir Chakra and 13 Shaurya Chakra. The force has lost 2,072 brave personnel since 1939.