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11 drones pressed into service to keep check on farmers’ rally in Gurugram

The police on Tuesday pressed 11 drones into service to monitor the farmers’ tractor rally at key points along their designated routes
By Leena Dhankhar, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 11:06 PM IST

The police on Tuesday pressed 11 drones into service to monitor the farmers’ tractor rally at key points along their designated routes. The police said drones were to keep a check on anti-social elements as well as to streamline vehicular movement on roads. The drones were also used to check if anybody was carrying weapons to the protest.

The drone teams coordinated with the traffic police at each intersection and also with their counterparts on the ground about farmers’ movement. Drones were deployed at Sehrawan, Dharuhera, Bilaspur, Manesar, Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Sirhaul toll, Rajiv Chowk, Old City, near Kapashera border, Hero Honda Chowk, Farrukhnagar and Pataudi.

Each drone was monitored by a team of four officials, headed by an assistant commissioner of police (ACP), with technical experts handling the controls.

Nearly 4,000 police personnel, including deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) and ACPs, were deployed at the key spots along the route taken by the farmers on Tuesday.

The police said that this was the first time that so many drones were used to monitor a large-scale movement. The department owns one drone and had hired the rest from private agencies.

Hitesh Yadav, assistant commissioner of police (Manesar), was seen monitoring the first drone at Manesar border near Sehrawan. He was checking the traffic movement, parking of trucks and placement of jersey barriers through the drone and instructed the placement of shipping containers to prevent the entry of farmers into Gurugram. “The drones came in handy and gave a distant view to know the exact movement of vehicles. We could monitor a distance of up to two kilometres and kept updating the personnel, who were on alert,” he said.

The police said they decided to use drones for monitoring due to the long distances, as farmers started their march towards Manesar from Shahjahanpur in Alwar district at the Haryana-Rajasthan border, Sangwari Chowk in Rewari and Masani village, near Dharuhera.

“We were expecting them to reach by 1pm but they got delayed and reached Manesar around 3.30pm as they were driving slow and were waiting for the farmers from Shahjahanpur, who started late. The police force coordinated well and passed timely information, which helped to manage the law and order situation,” said Yadav.

Yadav was seen monitoring and passing information through wireless handsets, and was in constant touch with teams from Dharuhera and Bilaspur. “Drones also helped us for parking the trucks on the NH-8. We parked them on a stretch of at least two kilometres, as a security layer. Drivers were asked to park their trucks on the main carriageway and we did not allow any vehicle to pass. We were also recording the movement and were informing the PCR vans just before the rally was about to reach their point of jurisdiction,” he said.

More than 300 vehicles had proceeded towards Manesar from multiple locations in Rewari and Dharuhera, to protest against the farm laws. The farmers carried out the tractor rally on two different routes skirting Manesar.

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