Arresting spies is not unusual for the Jammu and Kashmir Police but the Hira Nagar Police Station in Kathua district was left more than a little confounded on Monday when the latest detainee – a pigeon – was handed over to them by the Border Security Force.
The pigeon, with a prominent pink patch and a tag on its leg, was logged as a “Pak Suspected Spy” in police station records on suspicion of being part of an espionage attempt from across border and an investigation launched.
The police made special arrangements to hang the cage above ground to keep the suspect safe.
According to police records, the pigeon flew into the house of one Geeta Devi in Chadwal area near the International Border at about 7 pm on Sunday.
The pigeon was caught by her. On closer inspection, she noticed a ring on one of the legs of the pigeon.
“The ring had a phone number written on it. So the pigeon was handed to Sarpanch Manyari of Chadwal village,” a senior police officer told NDTV.
The village head handed the pigeon to Border Security Force (BSF) who in turn handed the bird to the local police in Hira Nagar Police Station, he said.
The police said so far they have found nothing unusual with the pigeon but a special division in Jammu is looking into the matter.
“We can’t say it was used for spying. Locals, seeing a tag tied with its leg, caught the pigeon. Some called it a coded message. In Pakistan’s Punjab, people tie number tag with pigeons to claim ownership,” Senior Superintendent of Police of Kathua Shailendra Mishra told NDTV.
But in the past such birds have been intercepted with messages sent from Pakistan.
“This is a sensitive area as it is just along International Border. Infiltration is also quite common along this route,” an officer said.
According to him, birds are used by people from across the border to send messages. “Birds are normally not suspected. They do their work without sounding out an alarm also,” he added.