In a bizarre turn of events reminiscent of a Hollywood (or Bollywood) plotline, India has released a pigeon that was detained by authorities for eight months on suspicion of espionage. The peculiar case unfolded when the bird was intercepted in May 2023 in the port of Bombay, drawing attention due to two rings tied to its legs containing messages in Chinese.
Local media outlets such as Press Trust of India and Times of India reported on the incident, highlighting the authorities' concerns that the pigeon could be a spy sent by China. As a precautionary measure, the bird was kept in captivity for nearly eight months in a veterinarian's cage while investigators attempted to decipher the illegible messages.
However, after extensive investigations, Indian authorities determined that the pigeon was, in fact, a participant in races in Taiwan, clearing it of all espionage charges. The role of the NGO Peta India was instrumental in ensuring the bird's release and certifying its good health.
Although the investigators identified the Chinese calligraphy, they were unable to uncover the message because of its totally illegible appearance.
However, as a precaution, they kept it for 8 months in a veterinarian's cage because they believed it could be a spy sent by China.
Interestingly, this is not a unique case. Apparently, India has a fixation with spy pigeons.
Previous cases, including mistaken captures of birds belonging to Pakistani fishermen and even one carrying a threatening message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016, were reported.