Imphal- Technology has become both a boon and a bane in the restive Manipur state. While Army and Assam Rifles are deploying drones to rescue and save people, clashing ethnic groups are using quadcopters to target each other.
It has been noticed by security agencies that quadcopters have been put to use by warring factions – Meiteis, mostly concentrated in Imphal valley, and Kukis, mainly on the hillside – to know each other’s positions, officials said.
There have been places like Phougakchao, Kangvai Bazar, and Torbung Bazar in the southwest part of Manipur where the quadcopters have been put to extensive use by the two communities where their villages face each other. The security forces have created buffer zones at these places to keep the agitated communities away from each other.
However, Loibol in Senapati district and Leimaram in Bishnupur district have been hotspots during the violence despite the presence of security forces, the officials said.
Mistrust runs deep in the two communities which rely on technology to monitor each other’s movement, the officials said.
Often during the day or night, there is intermittent firing where these groups are taking shots at these quadcopters, available freely in the market, the officials said.
Quadcopter, often called a quadrotor, is an uncrewed rotary wing aircraft that can take flight using four rotors, each consisting of a motor and propellers. Unlike conventional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, which rely on engines or tail rotors to take flight, quadcopters have neither.
Quadcopters, after being airborne, have the ability to hover in place, whereas fixed-wing aerial drones have to be on the move constantly.
Quadcopters are also capable of much more precise aerial maneuvers while fixed-wing aerial drones can only make much less precise fly-by runs.
At the same time, drones have also assisted the Army and Assam Rifles in rescue operations and helped save nearly 2000 civilians in the Kakching district of South East Manipur.
The security forces located arms assailants using drones which were followed up by blocking their locations and engaging them in a fight while the other teams rescued the civilians using a different road from Serou to Pangaltabi in vehicles.
The security forces had used quadcopters during the ethnic riots that began on May 3 to rescue people and save property. In one such instance, rioters in Imphal city shot down a quadcopter using stones as it was helping in navigating the marching troops in the narrow lanes and bylanes.
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