Assam Rifles' convoy attacked in Manipur, 7 dead; all you need to know about India's oldest paramilitary force


Commanding Officer of 46 Assam Rifles Col Viplav Tripathi, his family members and four other soldiers were killed in an ambush by militants in the Singhat sub-division of Manipur's Churachandpur district on Saturday.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack on the 46 Assam Rifles unit yet, Manipur based people's liberation army is suspected to be responsible for the attack.

According to sources, the driver of the officer's vehicle was also gunned down, taking the overall toll to seven.

Police said the incident took place near Sehken village as the heavily-armed terrorists fired upon the convoy of the Assam Rifles colonel killing him, his wife, their eight year-old son and three Quick Reaction Team jawans on the spot.

India's oldest paramilitary force

Raised as a militia called the 'Cachar Levy' in 1835, the Assam Rifles got its current name in 1917. In 1965, it came under complete operational control of the Army.

Apart from guarding India's 1,640-km long border with Myanmar, the force has been providing operational and logistics support to the Army in keeping a strict vigil in several key sectors along the Sino-India boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.

They have also been carrying out counter-insurgency operations in militancy-infested states in the North East, including Manipur, along with providing developmental assistance to people.

At present, the Assam rifles has a total of 46 battalions, and most of its units are headed by Army officers since 1884. It draws its strength of officers from the Army and functions under the command of the Union Home Ministry. The Home Ministry has administrative authority over the paramilitary force.

"The Assam Rifles fills the void when Army units carry forward the battle to the enemy territory. This is the only genuine paramilitary force which actively participated in all the wars since Independence including the 1962 and 1971 wars," a PTI report from 2019 quoted a senior Army official as saying.

The two-thirds of the overall composition of the training imparted to the Assam Rifles personnel are based on conventional warfare so that they can help the Army in times of war, the official had said.

Previous incidents

This is the first time that civilians have died in an ambush in this remote area of the district. The location is an extremely remote village around 50 km from Churachandpur.

In 2015, 20 soldiers were killed in an attack by terrorists in Manipur, after which the Army launched a surgical strike on their camp.

A team of 6 Dogra Regiment was on a road opening patrol (ROP) as part of its daily routine along Tengnoupal-New Samtal road, about 80 km from Imphal, when it was attacked by an unidentified insurgent outfit first with a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

After the IED blast, the insurgents resorted to heavy firing at the convoy of four Army vehicles with RPGs and automatic weapons, Army sources had said in Delhi.

With inputs from PTI

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Assam Rifles' convoy attacked in Manipur, 7 dead; all you need to know about India's oldest paramilitary force
Assam Rifles' convoy attacked in Manipur, 7 dead; all you need to know about India's oldest paramilitary force
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