Non-local beggars swarm Kashmir, harass public all across the city

Wahid Bhat
Srinagar: Amid shutdown and economic downfall, Kashmir is facing yet another harassment and inconvenience caused by the non-local beggars.

People across Kashmir valley and particularly in Srinagar city are facing nuisance in the form of non-local beggars who have taken positions at various important points in the city, especially in commercial hub, Lal Chowk after the current uprising. Beggars are seen in every nook and corner of the city causing huge inconvenience to pedestrians, shoppers and tourists.

Though, these beggars don’t bite, but they unleash equal amount of fear by chasing people to fetch money from them. These non-local beggars have made lives of local population miserable and have become headache for foreign tourists too.

One of the foreign tourists said that they are being harassed by beggars who do not spare them even when they are in hurry. These beggars, who are believed to be illegal immigrants, would carry out their activities with their babies and children in the city.

Johnny John, a foreigner said these beggars are nuisance. “I came here to explore the beauty of Kashmir, but every moment I step out of the car, I get surrounded by beggars, who do not let me go till I give them some money. See helping poor is good but here the beggars make almost 100 rounds a day to get money,” he said.

Abdul Hamid, a local shopkeeper in Dalgate said, “This place is a tourist hub, that’s why it is full of beggars. Most of them are those who cannot even walk. I think it is a big business nexus and government should take serious note of the problem”. He added that most of these beggars are professionally trained to take advantage of people’s emotions and force them to give money to them.

“Most of these non local beggars in the evenings are seen taking drugs and alcohol as well,” said a shopkeeper at Dalgate.

Ganga from Bihar, a beggar living in Dalgate area said that she doesn’t know what demonetization means. But when people stopped giving her coins and loose change last week, she asked some fellow beggars what the problem was.

“Beggars living in the vicinity told me that 500 and 1,000 notes have been banned. So people were saving whatever money they had. This was very shocking to know. I knew then that I won’t get any money for some time now,” she said.

Government should take immediate steps to curb this menace. Our customers are being constantly harassed by these beggars,” said Irfan Ahmad, a handicrafts dealer at Dalgate.

“Due to the current unrest, we are not able to continue our drive against this public inconvenience, however we are working on it”, Addl. Enforcement Officer, Masood Ul Hassan told PTK.

He added that “there is a rush during these Urs days at Hazratbal and Makhdoom Sahib and beggars in large have occupied these place. We have initiated drive against these illegal occupants and soon we’ll drag them out of our jurisdiction. (PTK)

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