SRINAGAR: Three more flying objects — possibly drones — were spotted over strategically important areas of Jammu on Wednesday. Security forces opened fire at them following which they withdrew, officials said.
The unnamed officials quoted by local newsgathering agencies said that the drones were seen hovering over Miran Sahab, Kaluchak and Kunjwani areas of Jammu where several military bases and sensitive installations are located.
They said that the first “unidentified flying object” at a height of about 1,000 meters was sighted near a place called Goswami Enclave in Kaluchak area at around 4.40 am. The second one was spotted near the Indian Air Force ‘Signal’ in the neighbouring Kunjwani area and the third at Miran Sahab at around 6 am. “All these activities on the third consecutive day were witnessed near defence installations but the alert security personnel quickly swung into action and opened fire at these objects,” said an official.
On June 27, the overly sensitive Air Force Station at Jammu had come under a terror attack when two low-intensity bombs believed to have been dropped by drones hit a barracks and an open space in quick succession, leaving two IAF personnel were injured in the explosions that took place within a gap of five minutes.
A day later, the Army averted two separate drone activities in Ratnuchak-Kaluchak belt close to the border with Pakistan in Jammu region and, thereby, as was claimed by it, foiled a possible threat in this extremely sensitive military area. The activity continued on Tuesday when the drone-like objects were seen flying at a couple of places in the same security belt.
The Jammu and Kashmir police and Indian Army officials in Jammu had said on Monday that as many as 14 drones were launched reportedly from across the International Border (called Working Boundary by Islamabad) and Line of Control (LoC) in the recent past.
They said that the areas which witnessed the activity include Jammu, Rajouri, Samba and Kathua districts of Indian-administered Kashmir. Six sorties with weapon payloads were found in Samba sector, three to four in Hiranagar sector and two each in Nowshera-Rajouri and Arnia sectors.
J&K’s director general of police, Dilbagh Singh, said that in the recent past drones have been used to drop weapons and narcotic consignments. He said that the twin blasts at the Jammu Air Force base was a “terror attack” in which IED payloads were dropped using drones. A security alert for all vital installations in the Jammu region as well as Kashmir Valley was issued on Sunday itself.
In view of the June 27 bombing at the Air Force Station Jammu and subsequent increased activity of illegal unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UASes) in Jammu region, director general (DG) of National Security Guard (NSG), M.A. Ganapathy, who is also DG, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Director General Central Industrial Security Force, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal arrived in Jammu to assess the situation.
Rajouri’s DC Rajesh Kumar Shavan has, through an order issued on Wednesday, banned the storage, sale or possession and use and transportation of the flying machines (drones). He has also directed those having drones or like objects in their possession to deposit them with the local police station.
However, the government agencies using drones for mapping, surveys and surveillance would get the local police station in-charge and executive magistrate informed, the order says.