Srinagar: -Come Ramazan and non-locals with the intention of making quick bucks swarm Srinagar. Women from distant lands like UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and even as far as Assam can be seen holding small babies in arms at virtually every busy intersection of the capital city pleading before motorists for alms.
The rising number of beggars is now increasingly turning out to be a nuisance for the people walking and driving on the city roads.
Beggars, mostly women, some donning Kashmiri attire or Burka to conceal their real identity and children in shabby clothing, can be seen invoking every deity while begging for alms.
These beggars spotted mostly outside mosques, shrines and at commercial places constantly pester the people for alms. Most of these beggars have raised slums in places like Bemina Bye-pass, Batamaloo and other adjoining areas where from they travel across the city begging for charity and alms.
Besides being accused of harassment, the beggars have also been accused of creating pollution. Huge garbage heaps can be found in and around their dwellings.
Most of these beggars are professionally trained to take advantage of peoples emotions and pity and force them to give money to them.
These beggars often operate in groups and have literally laid siege of the city. No matter how much you try to avoid them, they manage to find you and pester you. They pester you to such an extent that you feel like you are being harassed, says Abdul Ghani, a businessm
Rumors are rife about a huge begging racket being operated in Srinagar. These small children are dropped for begging at early morning and are picked late at night by a mafia, said Muntazir Yasen a resident of Abi Guzar, Srinagar.
Begging in public places, otherwise banned by law, seems to have grown into an industry for this mafia, he said.
These Beggars have made it very difficult for us to do our business. They harass and pester our customers due to which most of them leave without buying any thing, said Mohammad Shaban, a fruit vendor from Batamoloo.
The Government should take immediate steps to curb this menace. Our customers are being constantly harassed by these beggars, said Mushtaq Ahmad, a handicrafts dealer at Dalgate.
Public also shares the same concerns. Authorities should take effective measures against the increasing problem of begging in the capital.
I was stuck in a traffic jam yesterday and suddenly a large group of children surrounded my car and started scratching at the window panes asking for money. I was forced to give them money as they didnt budge, said Bashrat Hussain,a Government employee.
People waiting for the buses find it really embarrassing when these beggars fall at their feet for alms and then refuse to budge. This forces most of the people to drop money into their outstretched hands in order to escape from their clutches.
SMC Commissioner, Bashir Ahmed Khan when contacted, said, We understand that it is a huge inconvenience and we are looking into the matter. We will soon start an anti-begging drive in the city.
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