Police draw up plans to tackle airborne threats to temple

The State police have mooted the urgent establishment of a no-fly zone over the historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple to render the landmark shrine and its hoard of antique treasures stored in ancient subterranean vaults “impregnable” to airborne threats.

Officials say the police have recommended that flying of kites be prohibited in the proposed no-fly zone to prevent any attempt at ‘kite aerial photography,’ a relatively new technique of taking above-the-ground pictures using remote-controlled cameras rigged to the kites. The police have based their proposal, which in the face of it seems more than necessary, on the ‘possibility’ that non-State actors could use ‘jury-rigged’ kites for covert surveillance of the area or, in a worst case security scenario, attempt an airborne sabotage operation on the temple’s structure.

Alert to pilots

Once the proposal comes through, possibly after discussions with and the concurrence of the Indian Air Force and civil aviation authorities, a special zone name will be accorded for the temple area and it will be notified on aeronautical charts so that pilots would know and identify in advance the area over which they are not allowed to fly.

An informal arrangement to this end is reported to be existing already on police insistence.