Suspected spy pigeon freed after eight months in hospital’s custody | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Suspected spy pigeon freed after eight months in hospital’s custody

BySabah Virani, Mumbai
Jan 31, 2024 07:50 AM IST

A pigeon suspected of being a Chinese spy, with rings and messages tied to its leg, has been freed after eight months in custody in Mumbai.

A pigeon, who was suspected of being a Chinese spy and had been in the custody of Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals in Parel for the last eight months, was finally freed on Tuesday.

Mumbai, India - Jan. 30, 2024: Chief Medical Supritendent Colonel Dr B B Kulkarni released the detained pigeon after getting clearance from Police dept, at BSPCA, in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - Jan. 30, 2024: Chief Medical Supritendent Colonel Dr B B Kulkarni released the detained pigeon after getting clearance from Police dept, at BSPCA, in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

On May 17 last year, the bird was caught at Pir Pau Jetty, a chemical jetty, by the RCF (Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers) police in Chembur. What aroused the police’s suspicion were two rings – one copper and one aluminum – tied to its leg and messages written in a Chinese-like script on the underside of both its wings. While the rings were taken for a forensic test, the pigeon was sent to the hospital for a check-up.

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The bird was in a fine medical condition, said Dr Mayur Dangar, the hospital’s manager. “Since we were given the pigeon in police custody, we could not set it free without permission.”

HT reported the story on January 17. On speaking to the assistant police inspector Ravindra Patil from RCF police station, HT learned that the pigeon used to take part in racing in open waters in Taiwan and at one such event it flew out of the country and landed in India. Patil also said the spying charges had been dropped and they were under the impression the bird had already been freed.

The pigeon had been occupying one of the eight cages meant for infectious and injured birds at the hospital. Letters to RCF police station elicited no response, Dangar had then said.

Following the report, the hospital wrote again to the police on January 22, asking for permission to let the bird go.

The police station sent a letter to the hospital on Monday, saying, “The bird was sent for medicinal and safe-keeping purposes. The inquiry is complete. If the bird is medically stable, the police station has no objection to its release.”

The release came as a massive relief to the hospital, as it is crunched for space with only eight bird cages, while other birds are kept in the open in an aviary. Dr Dangar said, “The cage was almost immediately replaced with two owls from Dadar, who were brought in by someone suspecting an accident. But finding them to be alright, we plan to release them tonight. The other cages are occupied by two parrots, four pigeons and one kite.”

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