The sighting of drones over sensitive Gadchiroli areas, including remote police outposts, has raised an alarm. A drone was first spotted in Gatta area of Etapalli tehsil on September 14, while another was spotted over Jimalgatta, Repanpalli and Zinganur villages on October 10. When it was seen hovering close to Jimalgatta police station, police personnel fired shots in the air forcing the drone to stay away.
Gadchiroli’s new Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal said, “We are keeping an eye as of now and trying to study various aspects like height, timing, flight path, etc. We will formulate a strategy to counter once we do this study.”
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Gadchiroli range) Sandip Patil, who had also earlier served as Gadchiroli SP, said, “Initial assessment is that the drones are being deployed by Naxals. They are being flown at night, making it look suspicious. We are taking steps to deploy technology to counter drones like use of radar and high-energy source to damage its circuit. Also, we are trying to zero in on sources, if any, in the region, from where these drones could have been acquired.”
He added, “The standard operating procedure regarding countering drones prescribes firing at them. But that has to be carefully done. If drones are hovering over villages, it is risky to fire, but if they come over police stations, our men can definitely respond by firing.”
Asked why Naxals would possibly use drones, Patil said, “Reconnaissance is one. Also, it could be a diversionary tactic to facilitate safe passage to some top cadres passing through the area.”
The alleged use of drones by Naxals is one of the latest challenges faced by police in affected areas, with Chhattisgarh also reporting similar sightings in affected parts over the past year.
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