Oldest paramilitary force participated in World Wars

Since inception in 1835, it has grown into 46-battalion force

It has won 48 gallantry awards

Shillong: Assam Rifles, hailed as the ‘Sentinels of the Northeast’ and which participated in two World Wars, on celebrated its 173rd anniversary on Monday.

The force is geared to face any emergency arising from the existing volatile security situation in the northeast, Director-General Lt. Gen. Paramjit Singh said at the inaugural function of the celebrations.

The oldest paramilitary force of the nation, Assam Rifles has grown in strength, from 750 combatants in its inception in 1835 to 65,000 troops, and now to 46 battalions.

It was raised as a ‘militia’ outfit by the name ‘Cachar Levy’ to protect and safeguard British interests in the region. Change in the role of the force saw its metamorphosis into the ‘Frontier Police’, ‘Assam Military Police’ and finally ‘Assam Rifles’ in 1917 during World War I.

In World War I, following heavy casualties suffered by India Corps, Assam Rifles (then Assam Military Police) was asked to provide reinforcements. Approximately 3,500 of its personnel were sent for deployment in the Middle East.

In World War II, Assam Rifles fought alongside regular British and Indian troops from Ukhrul to Kohima and won 48 gallantry awards.

It also rendered yeoman service in the management and evacuation of refugees in the jungles of Burma in the face of Japanese onslaught. — PTI