Free Press Journal

Zanjeer: Sniffer dog who saved countless lives during 1993 Mumbai serial blasts


They say, ‘dogs are humans’ best friend’ but we say they are more than that. Holding true to the fact, there has been several incidents when dogs have risked their lives to save ours. The canine named ‘Zanjeer’ who has changed our perception of what we call is ‘brave’. Named after Bollywood action film ‘Zanjeer’ (1973) and fondly called as ‘Ginger’ because of his coat color, he was part of Mumbai Police team and was not just another sniffer dog but the best bomb detector in the squad.

Today we narrate you the brave tale of ‘Zanjeer’, a Labrador Retriever born on January 7, 1992. He was trained at the Dog Training Centre of the Criminal Investigation Department at Shivaji Nagar in Pune. He was barely one-year-old when he started working with the Mumbai Police Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and was handled by Ganesh Andale and VG Rajput. But his contribution in saving the lives of countless Mumbaikars is something we cannot describe in words. During the serial Mumbai 1993 blast he helped to avert three bombs in Dadar, Thane and Mumbra. The brave canine has detected over 3329 kg of RDX explosives, 11 military bombs, 57 country-made bombs, 175 petrol bombs, 600 detonators, around 6,000 rounds of live ammunition and above 200 hand grenades.

The Mumbai Police Dog Squad became operational on December 9, 1959 but it was only Zanjeer who laid the foundation for sniffer dog squads in states’ police forces across the country. Earlier, there were only three Doberman Pinschers in the squad namely Kumar, Bindo and Rajah. These dogs were used only for tracking and solving criminal cases. But with the rise in terror attacks, sniffer dogs were trained to detect explosives, ammunition and narcotic substances. During the 1993 blast, the Mumbai Police Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad had six sniffers. Today, when many state police forces have Labrador Retrievers or Doberman Pinschers in the squad, Delhi police is training street dogs for recruiting them in the squad.

Unfortunately, at the age of eight, Zanjeer developed bone cancer and succumbed to it in November 2000. He was buried with full state honors with his fellow officers laid floral wreaths on him when he was buried.