Despite Ban, Begging Thrives In City

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SRINAGAR — Despite the ban on the begging, the menace continues to irk the people in the city here.

The increasing number of local and non-local beggars could be seen seeking alms at the traffic signals and also ride into the public transport vehicles leaving people hassled. The non-local beggars who are mostly found indulging in drug abuse and pickpocketing have proliferated triggering concern among 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 who indulge in beggary. There has been no exercise on their survey,” an official at Divisional Commissioner’s office said.

Earlier however while citing the “proliferation” of beggars on the streets of Srinagar as a major concern, the DC Srinagar had ordered the arrest of beggars in the city.

Officials admit that beggars create “massive nuisance” for the public, especially at traffic signals. Following the DCs order, some beggars were arrested. But now the menace continues. The DC’s order to prohibit begging had noted that “ begging at a public place or a place of worship is repugnant to the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act, 1960.” The order had further stated that begging being “ an offence under the law, strict action should be taken against offenders.”  “Any person soliciting alms or begging in a public place or “in or about” a mosque, temple or any other place of worship, entering any private premises for soliciting alms shall be immediately arrested” under section 4 of the Act. Exposing or exhibiting any sore, wound, injury, deformity or disease with the objective of obtaining alms will be liable for arrest under the law,” it had added.

“The non-local beggars have made our lives miserable and have become a headache for students and tourists as well”, said a Kashmir University student, Syed Bilal. “Whenever we are with our female classmates they embarrass us with such pleadings as Allah Aap Ki Joodi Salamat Rakhe,” he added.

“Most of the beggars are professionally trained and force people to part with their money,” added another student. “ We are dependent on our parents in every aspect still they are annoying us and slip their hands in our pockets to take the money and even don’t spare us when we are in hurry for our classes.”

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