A pigeon has been detained in India for eight months on suspicion of Chinese espionage. She has since been released, Indian media such as “The Indian Express” reported, citing local authorities.
Police captured the bird with two rings on its leg last May near the coast of India's financial center Mumbai. The police discovered characters on the wings and suspected they were Chinese. The animal was “arrested” on suspicion of espionage and placed in an individual cage in the veterinary clinic for the duration of the investigation.
Subsequent police investigations revealed that it was not a spy bird, but a stray racing pigeon from Taiwan. Such animals can bring their owners a lot of prize money in tournaments. Nevertheless, the bird had to remain in the cage for months - because it had simply been forgotten, they said. It was only when the animal clinic and the animal rights organization Peta recently drew attention to the case that the police approved his release.
According to Peta, police gave the hospital "official permission to release the pigeon" on Wednesday. Local media reported that the pigeon flew away safe and sound.
This is not the first time that Indian security forces have captured birds. In 2020, for example, a pink-painted pigeon with a ring with numbers on its leg was hit. She also later turned out to be a racing pigeon - at the time from Pakistan. In 2016, officials found a pigeon near the Pakistan border with a threatening message for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Another pigeon was picked up in 2010 with a ring around its foot and a Pakistani phone number and address.
India has very tense relations with both China and Pakistan. Many soldiers guard the border with the two neighboring countries.