Despite ban, beggars swarm Srinagar

Despite ban, beggars swarm Srinagar

Failure of authorities to enforce ban on begging in the summer capital is taking toll on people.

Organised begging mafia brings beggars in private vehicles and drops them at various places across the city. So lucrative is the begging business for this mafia that they are hiring non-locals for begging in streets, malls, petrol stations, outside masjids, shrines, temples and traffic signals.

“Kingpins of these gangs drop beggars in cars to their designated begging spot and in turn, they have to share their day’s earnings with them. In some cases, beggars who are made to beg are paid wages amounting from Rs 300 to 700 a day,” informed an official who has been tasked to check begging menance.

This has made life difficult for locals who complain of being hounded by these professional beggars.

“Government must act against them, as the genuine people who deserve our help are neglected due to this organised mafia,” said Javid Ahmad, a Srinagar resident.

Recently several videos on social media are doing rounds where non-local beggars can be seen thronging Srinagar areas in SUVs. Some are even seen being picked by agents in costly cars. These videos have enraged the masses in Srinagar who have sought a complete ban on begging.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Srinagar District administration has already banned begging in public places.

Invoking the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act,1960, the government 2018 imposed a ban on begging. An order issued in this regard by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar had directed police to arrest any person found soliciting alms in public and at religious places or other private premises. The SSP Srinagar and Budgam were also asked to implement the order and report the number of such arrests on a daily basis.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang Pole said that he would look into this matter and initiate appropriate action.

Speaking to Kashmir Post, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Aijaz Asad that that is an organised begging mafia in work. “We have constituted teams headed by sub-district magistrates and action has been taken. We have been able to curb this menace to some extent.”

DC Srinagar appealed to people not to incentivise road begging. “It is an appeal to people that they should not encourage these road beggars by giving them alms. Instead, they should look out for those who need our help, orphanages” he said adding that the district administration has already taken action and will continue to take action against this menace.

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