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Begging menace in Jammu & Kashmir

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 3 minutes read

By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
Jammu is the most populous district of the state and begging, one of the social evils, is prevalent at public places, especially places of worship, streets, roadsides, thereby causing inconvenience to the public. The act of begging is instrumental in not only enlightening the individual but also the society as a whole. A beggar enlightens the individual that there still exists a section of the society which is deprived of the basic necessities of life. When a beggar communicates his plight, he may cause the observer to introspect with respect to the responsibility he owes to other needy members of the society.
Begging being an offence under the Act (Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act I960), it is imperative that strict necessary action under law be initiated against the offenders.
No doubt, the Jammu and Kashmir government has banned begging at public and religious places in Srinagar and directed police to arrest the offenders but it is not strictly implemented. Beggars have created a mess on the city streets. It is almost impossible to keep the windows down near a traffic signal. These beggars move fearlessly catching many pedestrians off guard and are often seen pestering people to succumb to their demands even as policemen watch them. While men usually prefer to remain away from the city and beg in small towns, women along with their children beg in the city. They jump in front of the vehicles and harass people demanding money. Many beggars are so young and healthy that they do not deserve charity at all. The deserving cases are very few; those who are crippled, lame, deaf, dumb, blind or handicapped and cannot earn their living. Beggars also rent babies from their mothers each day, to give they are begging more credibility. They carry these babies who are sedated and hang limply in their arms and claim they have no money to feed them. In the worst of cases, they make that child cry so that you can melt.
It is observed that women beggars, who are mostly from the Rohingya community carrying little children on their laps, are on the rise. People feel pity on them because they look poorer than our own poor which motivates a person to give money to them. They are becoming potential threat to various bank customers in the area, some of whom alleged to have been pick pocketed. The child beggars follow the passengers’ vehicles when they reach at crossing points and stop them and demand money. Beggary has become an organized crime with the worst affected victims being kids. They are forced into beggary and live under the constant duress of their supervisors.
In the absence of strong laws and government-run juvenile homes, begging, the most common urban problem in India, has taken alarming dimensions in the city, with children as young as six-year-olds in shabby conditions roaming the market places and seeking alms. It is contingent upon the administration to take all measures necessary to make the district more citizen friendly and to prevent public nuisance at all costs.
The alarming thing is that the small children who should have been in school as it was the age of their schooling are being used for begging either by their parents or by any agency which has made the begging as a means of earning money. Stringent law is the need of the hour to deal with the menace. The children need rehabilitation and efforts should be made to take action against people involved in pushing kids in such trade.

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