Their main targets were shop owners and shoppers

A group of 35 people from Rajasthan seemed to have turned the practice of seeking alms into a fine art. Hailing from Pali district in Rajasthan, they descended on the city on Tuesday morning and checked into a lodge near Lanka Corner. They had arrived by Kurla Express. While the elderly among them stayed put in the lodge, the younger lot, children included, worked on the streets of the busy shopping areas in the city, seeking alms from passers-by and shops. Some in the group stayed on footpaths near the Railway Junction for the night.

The group targeted shop owners and shoppers. Young women and children were used to evoke the sympathy of the public, police said.

But the group’s enterprise ended abruptly on Wednesday. Following complaints, the Variety Hall Road Police, along with volunteers from Childline, rounded them up and made arrangements for their return home.

Jameel Ahmed of Coimbatore Railway Passengers Association said they were provided with biscuit packets and water bottles. The group had money to buy tickets for only 22 of them and for the remaining few, the association purchased the tickets. They were sent from Coimbatore in the general compartment of the Thiruvananthapuram – Mumbai CSTM Express with RPF escort.

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