A file photo of Srinagar
A file photo of Srinagar | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Text Size:

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has started using drones to map Srinagar, a routine activity done manually by personnel in the past.

Speaking to ThePrint, local police officers said using drones will also help the civil administration conduct surveillance in the Valley, besides cutting down the manual effort put into the mapping exercise.

“Over 100 drones were provided to the police force last year in October and November, which are now being used to conduct mapping exercises,” said a senior police official. “The exercise has started in Srinagar and, so far, the activity has been performed without any hassles.”

Mapping exercises are conducted to create elaborate profiles of localities, which include details such as number of houses, shops, roads, religious places and other establishments located there.

“It is for the first time that drones are being used to conduct the elaborate exercise,” the official quoted above said, adding it was being overseen by multiple teams headed by a deputy superintendent of police. 

“In some cases, the DSPs themselves are operating the drones, while in other cases, their juniors are operating the machines after receiving proper training,” the officer added.

The exercise was earlier carried out by the beat in-charge, who is either a sub-inspector or head constable-rank official.

Senior officers said mapping was a routine affair conducted multiple times in a year to update the police database. The ongoing bid to map Srinagar is expected to get over in a few weeks, they added.

“By the end of the exercise, we will have elaborate aerial-view maps of localities that will provide us the exact location and number of houses, shops, mosques, roads, intersections and so on,” said a second senior police officer ThePrint spoke to. 

“This will help us maintain law and order in the future, especially when there are instances of violent protests. Our forces or the central forces will be able to navigate better,” the official added.


Also Read: Lost generation of Kashmir’s Ikhwanis looks at politics to revive relevance in ‘new J&K’


‘For aerial surveillance’

Another senior police officer said the drones will also be employed for 24×7 aerial surveillance, adding all police stations and related facilities in Kashmir will be provided with unmanned aerial vehicles. 

“After the 5 August decision (scrapping of Article 370), it was observed that drones acted as a major deterrent for protests to take place,” the official added. 

“It has helped us massively in crowd-control,” the official said.

Some residents, however, are wary about the drones, especially in downtown Srinagar, which police see as the hardest to navigate during protests.

“I was woken up one morning by a helicopter-like sound. My room is located on the first floor of our house. I opened the window… When I looked outside, I saw this drone staring right back at me,” said Umair Ahmed, a 31-year-old resident of downtown Srinagar. 

“The drone didn’t change its position for another few seconds and then flew away.” 


Also Read: In Modi’s India, Kashmir’s economic catastrophe makes no dent in collective conscience


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And have just turned three.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous and questioning journalism. Please click on the link below. Your support will define ThePrint’s future.

Support Our Journalism

3 Comments Share Your Views

3 COMMENTS

  1. At any given time, British Police keeps tap on the phone for at least two thousand people. It costs a lot but keeps the country safe. India should do the same.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here