NEW DELHI (AFP) – Indian police are holding a pigeon under armed guard after it was caught on an alleged spying mission for arch rivals and neighbours Pakistan, media reported on Friday.
The white-coloured bird was found by a local resident in India’s Punjab state, which borders Pakistan, and taken to a police station 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital Amritsar.
The pigeon had a ring around its foot and a Pakistani phone number and address stamped on its body in red ink.
Police officer Ramdas Jagjit Singh Chahal told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency that they suspected the pigeon may have landed on Indian soil from Pakistan with a message, although no trace of a note has been found.
Officials have directed that no-one should be allowed to visit the pigeon, which police say may have been on a “special mission of spying”.
The bird has been medically examined and was being kept in an air-conditioned room under police guard.
Senior officers have asked to be kept updated on the situation three times a day, PTI said.
Chahal said local pigeon fanciers in the sensitive border area had told police that Pakistani pigeons were easily identifiable as they look different from Indian ones, according to the Indian Express newspaper.