Service No : IC-39962A

Date of Birth : December 31, 1960

Place of birth : Mumbai

Service : Army

Last Rank : Lt Col

Unit : 25 RR /18 Madras

Arm/Regt : The Madras Regiment

Operation : CI & IS Ops

Awards : SC

Martyrdom : October 30, 1999

Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar SC

Lieutenant Colonel Ajit Bhandarkar was born in Mumbai on 31 Dec 1960. Son of Shri U V Bhandarkar, Lt Col Ajit had two brothers, and one of them, Col Arun Bhandarkar too served in the Army. He was inclined to join the Army since his childhood days and continued to follow his dream while growing up. After his initial schooling in Bangalore, he went on to study in Sainik School Bijapur, where the foundation of his future military career was laid. Eventually his dream came true, when he got selected for the prestigious National Defence Academy Khadakwasla. Later he moved to Indian Military Academy Dehradun for further training.


He was commissioned into 18 Madras of the Madras regiment, a regiment known for its gallant soldiers and numerous battle honours. After serving for few years, he got married to Ms Shakuntala and the couple had two sons named Nirbhay and Akshay. During his service career, Lt Col Ajit participated in various operations and operated in places with different terrain and environments. Consequently, the family also traveled across the country along with Lt Col Ajit and stayed at Pune, Indore, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi. Later Lt Col Ajit was sent on deputation to 25 RR battalion, deployed in J & K area for counter-insurgency operations. The family continued to stay in Delhi as the unit was located in a field area.


Faizalabad Operation : 30 Oct 1999


During Oct 1999, Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar was serving with 25 RR deployed in Poonch district of J&K. As the AOR(Area of Operation) of the unit was infested with militants, the troops had to undertake counter-insurgency operations on a regular basis. On 30 October 1999, Lt Col Ajit’s unit had received intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in Faisalabad village in Poonch district. After assessing the situation a decision was taken to launch an operation under the leadership of Lt Col Ajit. As planned, a cordon and search operation was launched in the suspected area to eliminate five hardcore militants hiding in the village.


As the operation was underway, Lt Col Ajit spotted the militants escaping towards a nullah. He immediately swung into action and while chasing shot down one militant at point-blank range. However, the second militant hiding inside the nullah fired indiscriminately and injured Lt Col Ajit grievously. Despite being injured, he moved ahead and lobbed a grenade on the militants. He then crawled forward and shot down another militant. His daredevil action resulted in the elimination of three hardcore militants. Lt Col Ajit, however later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. For this act of courage and supreme sacrifice, Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar was awarded “Shaurya Chakra” posthumously.


Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar is survived by his wife Smt Shakuntala Bhandarkar and two sons, Nirbhay and Akshay, parents, and two brothers. His wife, Smt Shakunthala Bhandarkar, having gone through the personal experience of being a martyr’s wife, is passionate about helping other martyrs’ families. She got associated the Vasantharatna Foundation for Art, Bangalore and contributed immensely in conducting various events and activities for the families of the martyrs. The undying passion to serve the nation seems to have been inherited by Lt Col Bhandarkar’s sons too. Whilst the elder son Capt Nirbhay Bhandarkar has joined his father’s unit after passing out from OTA Chennai, Sub Lt Akshay Bhandarkar has joined the Indian Navy after graduating as an Engineer.

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  • Kanupriya Bazaz

    2023at5:32 pm Reply

    Salute to you Sire
    Jai Hind

  • Lavanya Jyothi

    2023at5:33 pm Reply

    Your story of courage and sacrifice is truly remarkable Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar..My deepest respects to you..Jai Hind..

    • Shakunthala Bhandarkar

      2023at5:53 pm

      Thank you Lavanya .

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