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Indian police clear a suspected Chinese spy pigeon after 8 months in bird lockup

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian police cleared a suspected Chinese spy pigeon after eight months’ detention and released it into the wild Tuesday, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

The pigeon’s ordeal began in May when it was captured near a port in Mumbai with two rings tied to its legs, carrying words that looked like Chinese. Police suspected it was involved in espionage and took it in, later sending it to Mumbai’s Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals.

Eventually, it turned out the pigeon was an open-water racing bird from Taiwan that had escaped and made its way to India. With police permission, the bird was transferred to the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, whose doctors set it free on Tuesday.

Mumbai police could not be reached for comment.

It is not the first time a bird has come under police suspicion in India.

In 2020, police in Indian-controlled Kashmir released a pigeon belonging to a Pakistani fisherman after a probe found that the bird, which had flown across the heavily militarized border between the nuclear-armed nations, was not a spy.

In 2016, another pigeon was taken into custody after it was found with a note that threatened Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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