With the onset of summer as well as Ramadhan, the valley of Kashmir is becoming the favorite destination for beggars coming from different parts of the country. Nowadays beggars can be seen at every nook and corner of the valley asking for alms and other favors. Furthermore, the majority of the baggers are accompanied by little children making life miserable for them. Due to the lack of efficient anti-bagging law, very little has been done by the administration to stop this menace. Also, no effort has been made by the concerned to conduct a background check on all those people who are thronging Kashmir valley primarily for begging.
These people, who are not officially welcomed, yet are never barred from coming here. Apart from tourists, a large number of beggars from various parts of India, such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, travel to Kashmir and engage in activities that cause problems for the common masses. These people can be found at bus stops, shopping malls, petrol stations, parks and gardens, and other locations where tourists and locals visit for fun and recreation.
Over the years, it has now become a major issue to deal with, not just for the people but also for the government. The constant influx of these people to the valley can be due to a variety of factors: first, the government isn’t doing enough to prevent them from entering the valley; second, once they do enter, again the government fails to keep track of them. As a consequence, no one is aware of the actions that these people engage in. Not only are they begging but also law enforcement authorities are concerned that they are involved in numerous anti-social activities such as drug trafficking and robbery. It is high time for the government to take some effective measures to counter the alarming increase of these people in our society.
There is also a requirement to set up beggar homes where these people are made to stay, once they come to this place. However, the most important challenge is to find ways to eradicate this menace completely. Begging is a social evil and it also brings a bad name to society and to the people. It is high time that government should come up with some concrete steps to stop the influx of beggars in the valley. People can also play an active role in curbing this menace.
Meanwhile, The non-local beggars have again flocked to Srinagar during the sacred month of Ramadan, taking advantage of the Muslim ruling to give donations during the month. The nonlocal beggars including men, women, old, and children usually place themselves at footpaths, four ways, and shopping malls.
Women from distant lands can be seen holding small babies in their arms at virtually every busy intersection of the capital city pleading before motorists for alms. “These non-local beggars have made lives of the local population miserable. They irritate us at every moment,” a resident of Koker Bazar told Kashmir Post.
He said that these non-local beggars mostly rush to the Valley in the month of Ramadan. “In this holy month, Muslims give away a part of their earnings as charity to the poor and needy people so, they come and take its advantage,” he said. “Ironically, most of the child beggars who come here with their parents are registered as tourists while they are annual summer visitors to Kashmir. They leave the valley with the first snowfall each year,” said a delegation of residents from the Mehjoor Nagar area.
The number of non-local beggars is too high in the city that they are seen mostly at tourist places, mosques, shrines, bus stands, and traffic signals. Shopkeepers around the city center, Lal Chowk, blame the authorities for their failure to curb the growing menace. “In spite of being sufficiently armed with laws, the non-local beggars are roaming around shops that irk the customers. It has affected our business,” said a shopkeeper at Lal Chowk.
The crowd of such people usually comes in the month of April and left the valley in the month of October and November. Every year hundreds of beggars from outside the state throng the valley in Ramadan and as well in the tourist season. A majority of them have set up colonies of tents on the outskirts of the city.