India city bans beggars ahead of Ivanka visit
HYDERABAD, India: 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 premier Narendra Modi.
Thousands of Indian entrepreneurs want to attend the three-daylong summit from Nov. 28, though organizers say they can accommodate only 400 from India and 800 from the United States and the rest of the world.
“Definitely, the response was much, much more than the 400. India has become a very important start-up destination,” Jayesh Ranjan said, a government official in Hyderabad who is helping organize the event.
Ranjan could not confirm a report in the Times of India daily that said about 44,000 Indian entrepreneurs had applied for the 400 slots, though he said it was in the thousands.
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,” V.K. Singh said, 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.
Over 20 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people live on less than $2 a day. For many, begging offers a last resort to stay alive. –
Hyderabad has rounded up beggars from public places ahead of the three-day summit.