In­dian city rounds up beg­gars:

Sub­con­ti­nent

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Trump

Ra­japakse

Au­thor­i­ties in the south­ern In­dian city of Hy­der­abad are round­ing up beg­gars ahead of a visit by Ivanka Trump for an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence.

Over the past week, more than 200 beg­gars have been trans­ported to sep­a­rate male and fe­male shel­ter homes lo­cated on the grounds of two city pris­ons. Au­thor­i­ties have been strictly en­forc­ing a beg­ging ban on the city’s streets and in other pub­lic places.

The crack­down seems to be hav­ing the de­sired ef­fect, with most of Hy­der­abad’s thou­sands of beg­gars van­ish­ing from sight.

Trump is a se­nior ad­viser to her fa­ther, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Later this month, she is sched­uled to be a fea­tured speaker at the Global En­trepreneur­ship Sum­mit in Hy­der­abad, which will also be at­tended by In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

Of­fi­cials say the drive against beg­ging was launched be­cause two up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional events are tak­ing place in the city — the en­trepreneur­ship sum­mit and the World Tel­ugu Con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

Beg­ging is a crim­i­nal of­fense in In­dia and can be pun­ished by as much as 10 years in prison, al­though the law is rarely en­forced.

“We will com­plete the clear­ing of beg­gars from the city roads by the end of the month,” said V.K. Singh, a top po­lice of­fi­cer.

The beg­gars have been rounded up from traf­fic junc­tions, bus sta­tions and rail­way sta­tions and trans­ported by van to the shel­ters, where they of­ten find them­selves sep­a­rated from their fam­ily mem­bers.

They are be­ing of­fered clean clothes, a shower and a bed. But they’re also be­ing fin­ger­printed be­fore they’re al­lowed to leave and told they could face jail time if they are found beg­ging again.

More than 20 per­cent of In­dia’s 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple live on less than 2 dol­lars a day. For many, beg­ging of­fers a last re­sort to stay alive.

Beg­gars tend to crowd around cars at traf­fic sig­nals, knock­ing on win­dows and ask­ing for food and money. They in­clude chil­dren as young as 5, who weave through dan­ger­ous traf­fic and of­ten per­form small ac­ro­batic acts.

A rights group that runs the two Hy­der­abad home­less shel­ters on the grounds of the Chan­chal­guda and Char­ala­pally jails where the beg­gars are be­ing taken es­ti­mates the city has 13,000 beg­gars.

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