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.

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