In a first, SSB appoints three women handlers for dog squads

Lucknow, Feb 6: In a first, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has appointed three women to handle its dog squads.

The three cops — Kalpanaben Manubhai (24); Anchal Rani (23); and Neha Sonkar (22) — underwent rigorous six-month training and are now posted in the 42nd battalion in Nanpara in Bahraich district.

Commandant of SSB, Lucknow headquarters, A.K Sinha said that this is for the first time in the state that any force has given women the responsibility to handle dog squads.

“This is a milestone for gender equality in central forces. Specially trained sniffer dogs play a crucial role in detecting substances like drugs, explosives, and even blood, and aid the police in their critical duties,” Sinha said.

He said that women were inherently more compassionate and hence it was decided that women general duty officers would be asked to apply.

“After receiving applications, we screened the candidates and tested them on basic parameters like temperament, fearlessness and the extent to which they can bear the aggression and tantrums of an animal,” said Sinha.

“Dogs are like babies. You must forge a bond with them. You scold them, and they get angry. It is love and affection that makes them perform well,” said Kalpanaben, who hails from Rajkot in Gujarat.

Kalpanaben said that when she decided to take up dog handling, people said it was a male bastion and not worth it for a woman.

“Still, I decided to go ahead and break the glass ceiling. I get a kick while doing the job. I loved my training at the specialised dog training and breeding centre in Alwar,” she added.

Anchal Rani — from Bihar — said that women have made incredible progress in all walks of life.

“When I joined the SSB, I came to know that there was no woman handler of the dog squad. Being a dog lover, I grabbed the opportunity as soon as it came my way,” she said

Neha — from Uttarakhand — she feels empowered and likes her task.