A suspected Pakistani spy pigeon has ruffled the feathers of Indian authorities, who accused the pink-painted bird of carrying a “coded message,” according to reports.
Villagers in Manyari turned the pigeon over to authorities after catching it along the border that separates Indian and Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir, Sky News reported.
Geeta Devi, a resident of the Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir, reported that the bird flew into her home Sunday night, according to the UK’s Telegraph.
Police logged the animal as a “Pak Suspected Spy” and launched an investigation to decipher the message, the outlet reported.
“We don’t know where the bird has come from. Locals on our side captured it near our fence,” Kathua police’s senior superintendent Shailendra Mishra told the Times of India.
“The pigeon, suspected to be trained in Pakistan for spying, has a ring with letters and numbers written on it,” a police source said.
“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 of concern as migratory birds have no such rings,” the source added.
Birds have reportedly been used for espionage in the disputed territory in the past.
In 2016, authorities in India’s Punjab state received a bird that had been found near the border with Pakistan with note attached to it with an alleged threat to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sky News reported.
A year before, a bird was found a few miles from the border after being seen carrying a “stamped message,” according to the outlet.