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Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: In the last two years, around 125 drones have been sighted in Punjab. Ten of those were shot down because they were from Pakistan to deliver weapons, explosives, ammunition and narcotics from across the border. Now, the Border Security Force and Punjab Police have started involving the panchayats in Punjab’s border villages to tackle issue of drones.

Last month, there were a dozen drone sightings in which grenades and drugs were smuggled. Three drones from Pakistan, which tried to enter Indian territory on October 6, were fired at by BSF and retreated. In September, when sympathisers of the Khalistan Tiger Force were arrested, they confessed to smuggling weapons through drones from Pakistan.

In August, a tiffin bomb packed with over 2kg of RDX and five hand grenades were found from Daleke village in Amritsar. Punjab Police claimed that the consignment was dropped by a drone from the neighbouring country. 

A senior police official said the state police and BSF are holding meetings with panchayats which fall within five kilometres of the Indo-Pak border and asking them to share information if they spot any flying object. Sources said radars cannot spot the drones as they fly at a height of 300 to 400 metres, mostly at night hours. These  can carry five to seven kilograms of weight.

Last December, Punjab Police seized 11 hand grenades hidden in a box attached to a wooden frame in a field in Salach village in Gurdaspur. BSF had seen the movement of a drone on the intervening night of December 19 and 20.

In August 2019, the first incident of drones dropping weapons, including AK 47 rifles, from Pakistan was reported. Sources said Punjab Police is considering buying anti-drone equipment from Israel to detect such devices and jam communications between them and their operators. However, such  equipment is very expensive and the state police felt they should be procured by the Centre. But there has been no development on this front and the police is still sans equipment. 

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