Srinagar: Despite a ban on begging at public places in Srinagar, beggars mostly non-locals, are thronging the city markets in huge numbers given the rush of shoppers on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha.
Non-local beggars, many of them children can be seen pestering the shoppers and commuters, which most people described as ‘irritating’.
Outside many busy shops in Lal Chowk, Regal Chowk, Hari Singh High Street, Jahangir Chowk, and Batamaloo beggars were seen standing in queues.
According to the shoppers, the beggars were not just asking, but forcing people to pay them the money by snatching their bags and pulling their clothes.
“I came out from a shop and while I was counting the cash which was returned by the shopkeeper I was surrounded by a group of five to eight kids and they started snatching my clothes and bags,” said Azra, who was accompanied by her mother. “They followed me continuously until my mother paid them off to stop the embarrassment,” she said.
Earlier in May this year, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah directed police to arrest the persons found soliciting alms in a public place, religious places and other private premises.
The DM also directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar and SSP Budgam to implement the order in letter and spirit and report the number of such arrests on a daily basis.
“Srinagar being the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir holds a great importance in the socio-economic landscape of the state and so it is contingent upon the administration to take all measures necessary to make the district more citizens friendly and to prevent public nuisance at all costs,” the order issued by Shah read. It stated that begging, being an offence under the Act (Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act I960), with Section 61 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, SVT 1989, it is imperative that strict necessary action under law be initiated against the offenders.
The DM in the order stated that it has been observed that off late there is proliferation of beggars on the streets of Srinagar which creates massive nuisance for the general public.
Also, according to the order, those exposing or exhibiting with the object of obtaining or extorting alms, any sore, wound, injury, deformity or disease whether of human being or an animal shall also be arrested
Inspector General Kashmir, S.P Pani said that they will look into the issue and law will take its course.