This Ramadan people in South Kashmiri’s Pulwama district heaved a sigh of relief after the number of non-state subject beggars has registered a significant decrease.
Residents said that contrary to tradition this Ramadan only a few non state subject beggars have turned up in the district.
“Around 70 percent decrease has been registered in their numbers this season due to the prevailing unrest in Kashmir,” said Ghulam Mohammad Dar, a resident of Dalipora Pulwama, adding that the ongoing uncertainty has proved a blessing in disguise for them.
“The district has been witnessing frequent incidents of stone pelting and shutdowns which caused deterrence in their arrivals,” he said.
He said that streets and courtyards of mosques used to remain packed with these beggars in Ramadan causing nuisance to commuters and worshippers.
Abdul Ahad, a Shopkeeper said that a few beggars from states including Rajasthan and Bihar have been staying in the outskirts of the district.
“These and few local beggars are seen asking for alms this season. Last year I used to attend up to 20 beggars per day,” he said.
Another shopkeeper said that he used to attend around 15 professional beggars per day.
“They would keep an eye on customers, when the customer would open his/her purse to pay the bill, they would appear from nowhere and compel them to give alms,” he said, adding that for the fear of beggars many customers avoided buying at his shop.
He also said these professional beggars mostly approach women and couples.
“They bow at their knees and leave them with no option but to give alms,” he said.
Each year thousands of non- state subject beggars turn to valley and their numbers swell particularly in Ramadan, the month during which Muslims do charity for the poor and the needy.
“Government is responsible for encouraging the malpractice as it has no policy to check it,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a resident of Malikpora, adding that Kashmir has turned a den for professional beggars.