Despite ban, begging a common sight at public places in Kashmir

Despite ban, begging a common sight at public places in Kashmir
Pic: Mubashir Khan/GK

Despite ban, begging is a common sight in and outside Srinagar particularly since the beginning of Ramadan.

Invoking the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act,1960, the government last year imposed ban on begging.

An order issued in this regard by the Deputy CommissionerSrinagar directed police to arrest any person found soliciting alms in publicand at religious places or other private premises.

The SSP Srinagar and Budgam were also asked to implement theorder and report the number of such arrests on daily basis.

But despite ban, beggars are seen asking for alms in andoutside Srinagar.

Sitting outside a mosque on The Bund here, a female beggarcovering her face and holding a malnourished child in her lap, asks people foralms.

"She comes at 10am, sits outside the mosque and leaves afterIftar (evening prayers). This is her routine these days," a shopkeeper nearbythe place said.

The posh Sanat Nagar area here has become a hub for beggingespecially for the non-local beggars. "Whenever the traffic stops at the redsignal, you will find two or three beggars either chasing your car or followingyou. They don't leave you till you give something," complained a local.

"This has become a nuisance. Now-a-days you don't give almsto a beggar because he is poor, you give because you want to get rid of them,"said Qulsum Bashir, a government officer.

Recently, again the government before the onset of Ramadanissued an order banning begging. The order envisaged arrest of persons foundsoliciting alms at public places.

"These orders have no effect on the ground," complained awoman.

Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, said,"We have sent over 140 beggars back, some people even extended financial helpfor them. We have established two shelter homes also for beggars."

However, he added that it was difficult to pick everyone."We are moving in an institutional way where we do need capacity building todeal with the issue."

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