The entry and capture of a white pigeon, apparently from across the border, in a border village of Pathankot in Indian side of Punjab has caused a flutter among intelligence sleuths and Indian Police, Indian media reported on Friday.
This comes two days after an Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) alert to Punjab Police on the possibility of Indian Mujahideen being active in Jammu and Pathankot areas.
The fact that the avian ‘intruder’ bore a stamped message and had a wire-like object on its body made the security agencies take a closer look at its flight into India. A part of the message was in Urdu, but the numbers appeared to be that of a landline telephone in Pakistan’s Narowal district.
The bird landed at the mud and brick house of barber Ramesh Chandra in Manwal village, 4km from Pakistan border, around 6.30pm on Wednesday. The suspicions of the barber’s 14-year-old son were aroused by the Urdu markings, and he went to the nearest police post around 9pm with the “spy bird”. His arrival there with the bird perched on a wire mesh along with Chandra’s chicken created a stir.
“Unfortunately, mobile phones rarely work in the border areas. My son ran to the nearest police post,” Chandra told TOI.
The cops then took the bird to a veterinary hospital in Pathankot for an X-ray. This did not throw up any clues. “Nothing adverse has been found, but we have kept the bird in our custody,” said Pathankot senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rakesh Kaushal.
“This is a rare instance of a bird from Pakistan being spotted here. We have caught a few spies here. The area is sensitive, given its proximity to Jammu, where infiltration is quite common,” said Kaushal.
Cops at Bamiyal police post made a diary entry terming the bird as a “suspected spy”, and sent a communication to BSF and IB.
The bird was found on a day when an inter-state meeting on security was being held among officials of Punjab Police, Indian Army as well as those from Kathua and Jammu districts.
“It was a meeting to launch joint search and combing operation in the respective areas. The security of Ranjit Sagar Dam was also discussed and decision has been taken to strengthen the security setup in and around the areas,” said Punjab Police inspector general (border range) Ishwar Sharma.