Service No : IC 52571N
Date of Birth : December 13, 1971
Place of birth : Bharatpur Dist (Raj)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Second Lieutenant
Unit : 8 Maratha LI
Arm/Regt : The Maratha Light Infantry
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Awards : Kirti Chakra
Martyrdom : May 20, 1994
2nd Lt Rishi Ashok Malhotra hailed from Bharatpur district in Rajasthan and was born on 13th December 1971. He did his schooling from Loyola High School, Pune. During his student days, 2nd/Lt Rishi was good in academics and even got selected under the Rotary Youth Exchange Program in class XII. As a result, he spent one year at Upper Dublin High School, in Philadelphia in USA. Subsequently, he returned to Pune to complete his BSc (Chemistry) degree and eventually graduated from Fergusson College, Pune in the year 1992.
Later that year he got selected to join the Army through the Combined Defence Services Examination and joined the Training Academy in July 1992 at the age of 20 years. He passed out of the Academy on 11 Dec 1993 and was commissioned into the 8th Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its intrepid soldiers and numerous battle exploits. After commissioning he got posted to the Kashmir valley as his first assignment.
Doda Operation: 18 May 1994
During May 1994, 2nd Lt Rishi Ashok Malhotra’s unit was deployed in the Kashmir valley. As the AOR(Area of Responsibility) of the unit was afflicted with militant activities, the unit troops had to undertake counter-insurgency operations on a regular basis. Within a short period of time, 2nd Lt Rishi gained operational experience and honed his field-craft skills. Based on the information from the intelligence sources about the presence of some militants in the AOR of the unit, a search and destroy(SAD) operation was launched in the area of Lai Dramman in Doda district on 18 May 1994 under the leadership of 2nd Lt Rishi.
2nd Lt Rishi selected an extremely difficult route in high-altitude jungle terrain to reach the suspected area in order to achieve an element of surprise. After traversing a distance of about 30 kms over two consecutive nights, 2nd Lt Rishi along with his comrades reached the suspected area and launched the search and cordon operation in the early morning hours of 20 May 1994. The move of his column with utmost stealth and guile took the militants by complete surprise. He then moved towards the hideout and engaged the militants with a very heavy volume of fire. An intense gun battle ensued thereafter with a heavy exchange of fire.
Leading from the front and showing extraordinary courage, 2nd Lt Rishi kept advancing to the hideout. However, while covering the last few yards to the hideout, 2nd Lt Rishi received gunshots in his chest. Despite being severely injured, 2nd Lt Rishi kept moving and reached the hideout. In a rare show of gallantry, he then attacked and eliminated two militants before collapsing. He later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred before he could even turn 23. 2nd Lt Rishi was a valiant soldier and a gritty officer, who laid down his life following the highest traditions of the Indian Army. 2nd Lt Rishi Ashok Malhotra was given the nation’s second highest peacetime gallantry award, “Kirti Chakra” for his cold courage, unyielding fighting spirit and supreme sacrifice.
The citation for the “Kirti Chakra” awarded to him reads:
On 18th May 1994, Second Lieutenant Rishi Ashok Malhotra of 8 Maratha light infantry was tasked to search and destroy a hideout of militants in the area of Lai Dramman in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. Second Lieutenant Rishi Malhotra led one platoon and selected an extremely difficult route in hide altitude jungle terrain to achieve surprise. After covering a distance of 30 Km over two consecutive nights, Second Lieutenant Rishi Malhotra cordoned off the militant hideout during the early morning hours of 20 May 1994. The move of his column with utmost stealth and guile took the militants by complete surprise. He then moved towards the hideout and engaged the militants with a very heavy volume of fire. Unmindful of his personal safety and displaying valour of an extremely high order, Second Lieutenant Rishi Malhotra kept advancing towards the hideout. An intense firefight with the militants ensued at close quarters during which the actions of Second Lieutenant Rishi Malhotra were conspicuously aggressive and exemplary. He received bullet wounds on the chest while covering the last few yards to the hideout. Despite being gravely injured, he reached the hideout and killed two anti-national elements at point-blank range before succumbing to his wounds. The two dead bodies of militants along with two AK-56 rifles just a few paces from where the officer expired was a testimony to the raw guts and unflinching resolve of Second Lieutenant Rishi Ashok Malhotra.
For this supreme act of valour and sacrifice, Second Lieutenant Rishi Malhotra was awarded ” Kirti Chakra” (Posthumously).