Is Kashmir becoming a paradise for non-local beggars?

Srinagar—Kashmir valley, popularly known as paradise on earth for its breathtaking beauty, is fast turning into a “beggars paradise”.

The increasing number of non-local beggars – who are mostly found indulging in drug abuse and pick pocketing- has not only become a matter of concern for the people.

These non-local beggars could be seen at various important places in the city, especially in commercial hub, Lal Chowk, Dal-Gate and along the boulevard stretch, Jehangir Chowk and other areas.

“We don’t have any exact official record about the number of non-locals. There has been no exercise on their survey,” an official at Divisional Commissioner’s office told KNS.

Most of these beggars belong to the states of Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. “They won’t let you go, until you pay them. Now they don’t take a one rupee note. Even they chase you,” pedestrians who often face these beggars say.

Most of these beggars are teenagers and children who wander on the streets both naked and half-naked.

“There is no doubt that the social crimes are increasing here. From last one-and-a-half month some cases of kidnapping, murder, trafficking and disappearances have been reported,” a senior police officer said.

“They make a good amount of money here in the summer season. But we are now concerned over their huge presence. They bring diseases here as well. Our society is at the risk of communicable diseases. Government has to act swiftly before it is too late,” says Ghulam Muhammad Chapri, a shopkeeper at Lal Chowk.

There are also reports that these non-local beggars after the sunset indulge in illegal practices and other drug abuses.

“During late evenings, flocks of drunkards comprising mostly non-local beggars flock at the Bund area and Lal Chowk,” said the locals. (KNS)


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