NEW DELHI: A pigeon with a bright pink patch and a tag on its leg found in Kashmir's Kathua district suspected of being trained to "spy" by Pakistan was released. Police said that the pigeon, which a Pakistan resident claimed his own pet bird was released after nothing suspicious was found.
"The pigeon was set free on Thursday after nothing suspicious was found," Shailendra Mishra, a senior police official in Jammu and Kashmir was quoted saying to an international news agency. Reportedly it was released in the same place where it was found last Sunday. It is not clear if the pigeon had returned to its owner.
On Friday, the pigeon's alleged owner Habibullah urged India to release it saying it's an "innocent bird".
Habibullah also rejected allegations that the "coded message" on its legs were codes meant for terrorists, and told the news agency that the pigeon had participated in a pigeon racing contest and digits in its legs was his mobile number.
It was last Sunday that the pigeon had flown to a house in Chadwal area near the International Border at about 7 pm. She noticed a ring on one of its legs and handed it over to the Border Security Force (BSF) which in turn handed the bird to the local police in Hira Nagar Police Station.
Birds have reportedly been used for espionage in the disputed region before.
In 2016, police in Pathankot, in India's Punjab state, took in a bird that was found near the Pakistan border which had a note attached to it with alleged threat to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The year before, a bird was seized a few miles from the border after being spotted carrying a "stamped message" on its body, according to local reports.