US citizen arrested for photographing Khajuraho with drone
An American citizen was caught photographing the Khajuraho temples, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh, using a drone camera, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials said. Gopal Krishen Sharma, junior conservation assistant at ASI sub-circle in Khajuraho, said a man was flying a drone from the rooftop of a hotel in front of the western group of the Khajuraho temples without any permission. We immediately rushed to the hotel, caught the foreigner and seized his drone and its remote. We handed him over to the local police. Sharma said his documents showed he was from the US and had come to Khajuraho recently.
His name is Derek Bessimier according to his visa. When questioned the American said he was not aware that drone photography was not allowed there. He also said there were no signboards anywhere which said it was prohibited in the area. Khajuraho police station in-charge K.G. Shukla said as the US citizen was not aware of the prohibition and it was a not a serious criminal act and they won’t lodge any case against him.
In October 2014, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also had issued a public notice banning flying drones in Indian airspace till further notice. It had cited ‘security threats’ as the reason for the ban.
In February this year, a Polish and an Italian were caught using a drone for aerial photography at the world heritage site. “We stopped them before they could do much. After scanning their documents and deleting all the contents of their cameras, they were let go,” Sharma said.
In February 2012, after a motor glider flew over the no-flying zone over Khajuraho temples, ASI officials filed a complaint with the local police against the violator. The motor glider was taking part in an adventure sports programme being held at the nearby Beni Sagar dam.