A pigeon accused of being a Chinese spy and serving eight months in Indian detainment was freed into the wild Tuesday after police determined the bird was innocent.
The fowl was captured near a Mumbai port in May when onlookers noticed two rings tied to its legs with written words resembling Chinese letters, according to the news agency Press Trust of India.
The scribblings led Indian police to suspect the feathered critter could be a Chinese agent seeking confidential intelligence from India — à la the infamous Chinese spy balloon.
They took the bird into custody to investigate and later transferred it to Mumbai’s Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals.
An investigation found that the “flying rat” was not a Chinese spy but an open-water racing bird that escaped from Taiwan and migrated to India.
After it was cleared of any espionage, the pigeon was transferred to the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, whose doctors set it free on Tuesday.
It’s not the first pigeon to be wrongly accused of spying in India.
In 2020, Indian officials captured a pink-painted pigeon believed to be a spy from Pakistan. Turns out the bird belonged to a Pakistani fisherman.
And yet another pigeon ruffled the feathers of Indian authorities in 2016. The winged animal was detained after it was found carrying a note that threatened Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
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