Government’s failure to implement law compounds begging menace in Kashmir

Government’s failure to implement law compounds begging menace in Kashmir

The successive regimes in J&K have failed to implement provisions of a law that calls for preventing beggary and makes it a punishable offence.

The Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act, 1960describes begging as an offence and calls for immediate arrest of theoffenders. The Act also directs government to establish Homes for Sick,Children and Beggars in the state for rehabilitation and treatment of thebeggars.

But a closer look at the implementation of the Act revealsthat not much has been done to implement it. In fact it was only this year thatthe Government designed two shelter homes for beggars in Kashmir, one atPanthachowk and other at Brein Nishat.

However, officials said there was a need for having morehomes for beggars in Kashmir to put an end on begging.

"If, for instance, we arrest a beggar in Budgam and shifthim to a shelter home in Panthachowk or Nishat, it is impossible to keep trackof the beggars."

According to the Beggary Act, any police officer or otherpersons authorised by the district magistrate may arrest without a warrant anyperson who is found begging.

The Act further says that whosoever having been previouslydeclared or detained in a Sick home, Beggar home or Children's Home as the casemay be, in accordance with the provisions of law, is found begging again shallon conviction be punished.

"But the Act is hardly implemented on the ground and that isthe main reason that the problem of begging is seeing no end in Kashmir," saidthe official.

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