‘Srinagar is fast becoming city of beggars’

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Srinagar: Dog menace apart, people in city are facing yet another nuisance in the form of non-local beggars who have taken positions at various important points in the city, especially in commercial hub, Lal Chowk.

Though, these beggars don’t bite, but they unleash equal amount of fear by chasing the pedestrians to fetch money.

This has not only annoyed the people but is also giving hard time to tourists with sources saying that trucks filled with non local beggars are reportedly being unloaded at various key points of the city.

“A truck with non-local beggars was seen near Shakti Sweets, Regal chowk on last Friday evening. We don’t know where the truck later dropped these beggars but it is for sure,” a local shopkeeper said.

These beggars are frequently seen on the busy city streets and do not leave any passerby without fetching money from him or her. “They will chase you if you don’t pay them anything,” the locals said.

However, no official from the government turns up to comment on the issue.

“Why this place is being filled with beggars. Most of them are those who cannot even walk. I think it is big business nexus and government should take serious note of the problem,” said Muhammad Ashraf, a local shopkeeper in Lal chowk.

A rough survey shows around 100 non-local beggars, most of them children, are stationed at various points from Regal Chowk to Amira Kadal. Most of them are from Rajasthan and its adjoining states.

A non-local girl, some 14 years old, who was seen begging at Pratap Park, said she came here along with her father. “I am a Muslim. I was studying at a local madrassa at my village in Rajasthan. A Kashmiri, we call him contractor, told my papa to come Kashmir for a job. The contractor took Rs 5000 from us and brought us here. We don’t know where he (contractor) is now. We are now begging here as we have no other work to do,” she said.

These beggars could be seen pulling the dupattas of women and even chase men to fetch money.

“They will not let you go unless you pay them some money. If you enter a shop they will chase you. This has become a serious concern and authorities should do something,” said Sajad Ahmad, a teacher at a local college.

Besides this, the other fear that has gripped people is that these non local beggars are reportedly found involved in stealing, pick pocketing and various other bad practices.

“Most of these non local beggars in the evenings are seen taking drugs and alcohol as well,” said a shopkeeper at Dalgate. (PTK)

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