Week after Jammu attack, drones banned in Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir administration has banned possession and use of drones in the summer capital Srinagar, officials said. The move comes around a week after two blasts, believed to be drone strikes, rocked an Indian Air Force (IAF) station in winter capital Jammu.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz on Saturday imposed restrictions on the sale, possession, storage, use and transportation of drones and similar unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the district.
Aijaz, in an order under section 144 of the criminal penal code, said that the decentralized airspace access has to be regulated in view of the “recent episodes of misuse of drones posing threat to security infrastructure as reported by the media and other reliable sources”.
“With a view to secure aerial space near vital installations and highly populated areas, it is imperative to discontinue the use of drones in all social and cultural gatherings to eliminate any risk of injury to life and damage to property,” he said.
Drones are being increasingly used in aerial photo and videography by filmmakers, tourism stakeholders, professional landscape photographers and photojournalists.
Of late, security forces say that drones are being used by militants from across the line of control to drop arms, ammunition, drugs and money into Jammu and Kashmir.
On June 27, for the first time, drones were apparently used to target a building of the IAF in Jammu by improvised explosive devices. Two blasts that had taken place within minutes of each other damaged a building and injured two personnel at the technical airport in Jammu in the early hours of June 27.
Since then, security forces have reported many sightings of drones in the region.
“Keeping in view the security situation apart from concerns of breach of privacy, nuisance and trespass, it is extremely dangerous to let unmanned aerial vehicles wander around in skies within the territorial jurisdiction of district Srinagar,” the Srinagar DC’s order said.
Srinagar is home to a number of strategic places and buildings, including Srinagar International Airport whose airstrip is under the control of the IAF, and cantonment area with headquarters of Army’s Chinar Corps besides a number of security installations.
Before the ban in Srinagar, district administration Rajouri also imposed a ban on storage, sale, possession, use and transport of any drone or small flying objects on June 30.
Those possessing drone cameras or UAVs in Srinagar have been asked to ground the devices in their respective local police stations under proper receipt.
“The government departments using drones for mapping, surveys and surveillance in the agricultural, environmental conservation and disaster mitigation sector shall inform the local police station before undertaking any such activity in public interest,” the order said.
Drones are governed by aircraft act 1934 and civil aviation rules 2021 already restrict flying the UAVs in prohibited areas like within a distance of 3 kilometres from the perimeter of any civil, private, defence airports, military installations and facilities and state secretariat complex. The prohibition also implies within 2 kilometres from the perimeter of any strategic or vital installation besides around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.