Thiruvananthapuram

Most beggars found to have families

Most beggars have been found to have family and homes.

Most beggars have been found to have family and homes.  

Police, authorities ignorant of anti-begging law

Of those picked up recently from the streets for seeking alms by the city Corporation’s anti-begging squad and shifted to its beggar rehabilitation centre at Kalladimughom, most have been found to have family and homes.

Fourteen such people were picked up for begging, most of them from in front of places of worship.

They were shifted to Sakshatkaram, the Corporation’s rehabilitation home. Of these, all (one was a man-missing case) but six have gone back home with their families — five have been accommodated at Sakshatkaram, and one at Sayahnam, the Corporation’s old-age home nearby.

Now, the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) has written to the Corporation pointing out that these people sought alms regularly in front of places of worship and this was proof that no action was being taken by the authorities to prevent begging in the city, though it was illegal.

A ban on begging has been in place for long under Section (3) of the Travancore Begging (Prevention) Act, 1945.

Ignorance of law

DLSA panel lawyer Sreeja Sreedharan, in her letter to the charge officer of Sakshatkaram, said that the recent incidents revealed ignorance of the anti-begging law among the police, people’s representatives, and those running the places of worship.

Official sources said that though many of them resorted to begging because of their difficult circumstances and failure to benefit from welfare measures, it was often done with the knowledge of their families. Most of those picked up were elderly people.

Three of the women who were picked up were in fact putting up together.

In a few cases, families expressed embarrassment not at the fact that their near ones were seeking alms, but at their being picked up by the authorities.

The sources expressed apprehension that beggary had likely become a lucrative source of income for these families.

People’s representatives too weighed in their favour, seeking leniency for them. While authorities of places of worship closed their eyes to the practice, the police too failed to act against them and produce them in court, the sources pointed out.

In her letter, Ms. Sreedharan said there was a need to create awareness of the anti-begging law among people’s representatives and officials at the city Corporation level, and the DLSA was ready to conduct a free legal awareness class.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 2:47:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/most-beggars-found-to-have-families/article19898391.ece

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