Assam Rifles is an Indian paramilitary unit. Currently there are 33 battalions of Assam Rifles under the command of Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.
First form of what is now the Assam Rifles was Cachar Levy, paramilitary police force of 750 men that was formed under British colonial rule in 1835. It was formed as police unit to protect settlements against tribal raids and other assaults as British rule slowly moved to northwards. 1870 the existing elements were merged into three Assam Military Police battalions in Lushai Hills (later 1st battalion), Lakhimpur (2nd battalion) and Naga Hills (3rd battalion). Fourth battalion was formed 1915 in Imphal.
The name of the unit has changed many times to Assam Military Police to Frontier Police.
During the World War I, Assam Military Police troopers were part of the Indian forces that fought for Britain in Europe and Middle East. The name Assam Rifles was assigned as a new name on 1917 as recognition of their part in the war. After the war they served in Northern India against rebellions and riots.
During the World War II, main duty of the Assam Rifles was to control the influx of refugees that came from Burma fleeing the Japanese advance. They also organized a resistance group called Victor Force in the Burmese border to harass Japanese communications behind enemy lines. Troopers also served in the battle of Kohima and earned numerous unit citations.
After the WW2 until Indian independence, Assam Rifles composed of 5 battalions that were one part of the civil police under Inspector General of Police in Assam. After the independence, government assigned the Assam Rifles its own Inspector General.
As the numbers of the force and the number of battalions gradually increased, the rank of the force commander was also upgraded until now it is that of lieutenant general.
One of the tasks of the unit was to keep order in the aftermath of the 1950 Assam earthquake and assist in resettlement. In October 1962 Assam Rifles were the frontline troops in the beginning of the Chinese-Indian War. Assam Rifles also maintained their peacekeeping roles in the Northern India in the face of tribal unrest and insurgency.
Assam Rifles also handle medical assistance, aid in basic education, assist in reconstruction and agriculture and handles communications in remote areas.