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Indian police officials arrested a pigeon. They thought it was a Pakistani spy (yes, really).

Indian police officials arrested a pigeon. They thought it was a Pakistani spy (yes, really).

After an investigation was conducted, they realized they were being absolutely ridiculous and released the pigeon.

Indian police officials in the disputed region of Kashmir have apprehended and arrested a pigeon, claiming that the bird was an alleged spy for the country's longtime enemy and neighbor Pakistan. While relations between the two South Asian countries have been strained ever since they first gained independence from the British, suspicions that a bird could spy for an enemy country have been considered rather ridiculous (and not to mention a waste of government resources). While an investigation was underway, a Pakistani villager urged Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to return his pigeon to him. He claimed that he flew the pigeon to celebrate the festival of Eid, the BBC reports. The bird has since been released.

 



 

The pigeon was first spotted and caught on May 24 when it flew into the home of Geeta Devi, a resident of the Kathua district of Kashmir. Reportedly, the pigeon was painted pink and carried a ring on its foot. The ring had numbers inscribed on it. Senior Superintendent of Kathua Police Shailendra Kumar Mishra stated, "We don't know from where it came. Locals captured it near our fences. We have found a ring in its foot on which some numbers are written." At present, further investigation is underway to decrypt the numbers on the ring. The pigeon remained in police custody until the investigation was concluded.

 



 

According to the police, a pink pigeon with a ring around its foot is a serious case for concern. They explained, "Though birds have no boundaries and many fly across international borders during migration, a coded ring tagged to the captured pigeon's body is a cause for concern as migratory birds don't have such rings." Interestingly enough, this is not the first time a bird - also thought to be a spy - has been captured by police officials. In 2015, a similar incident took place. The pigeon in question had "Tehsil Shakargarh, district Narowal" stamped on its tail in Urdu. The area mentioned is a province in the Indian state of Punjab. Though nothing suspicious was ever uncovered, police officials kept the bird in custody anyway and listed it as a "suspected spy."

 



 

Unlike this case, a Pakistani man came forward to stake claim of the recently-arrested pigeon spy. Habibullah, a villager from the neighboring country, owns a dozen pigeons and simply released some in order to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid. Allegedly, the pigeon was a "symbol of peace." He urged India in an interview with a local Pakistani news outlet to "refrain from victimizing innocent birds." He added that the code on the ring found attached to the pigeon's foot was actually his mobile number. In response to Habibullah's sincere requests, local officials decided to set the bird free. They told Outlook India, "The bird is free. Whether it is from Pakistan or elsewhere, we don’t know. We only know that the bird is free." Though the last time the countries fought a major war was in 1971, there have been several military attacks orchestrated by both governments since. While it may seem ridiculous to suggest that countries could go to war for a bird, we are also talking about a government that apprehended a pigeon and placed another one on a list of suspicious persons.

 

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