Streets cleared of beg­gars ahead of visit by pres­i­dent’s daugh­ter

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

Of­fi­cials have been strictly en­forc­ing a beg­ging ban in pub­lic places.

The crack­down seems to work­ing, with most of Hy­der­abad’s thou­sands of beg­gars van­ish­ing from sight.

Ms Trump is a se­nior ad­viser to her fa­ther, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Later this month, she is sched­uled to speak at the Global En­trepreneur­ship Sum­mit in Hy­der­abad, which will also be at­tended by In­dian

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

Of­fi­cials said the drive against beg­ging was launched be­cause two in­ter­na­tional events were tak­ing place in the city – the en­trepreneur­ship sum­mit and the World Tel­ugu Con­fer­ence next month.

Beg­ging is a crim­i­nal of­fence in In­dia, pun­ish­able by as much as 10 years in prison, al­though the law is rarely en­forced.

The beg­gars are rounded up from road junc­tions, bus sta­tions and rail­way sta­tions and taken to shel­ters, where they are of­ten sep­a­rated from rel­a­tives.

They are given clean clothes, a shower and a bed. But they are also fin­ger­printed and told they could be jailed if they are found beg­ging again.

More than 20% of In­dia’s 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple live on less than two dol­lars (about £1.50) a day. For many, beg­ging of­fers a last re­sort to stay alive.

The en­trepreneur­ship sum­mit is an an­nual event that this year will fo­cus on supporting fe­male en­trepreneurs. Run­ning from Novem­ber 28-30, it is jointly hosted by the US and In­dia.

Next month, po­lice will start of­fer­ing cash re­wards to peo­ple who tell of a beg­gar’s lo­ca­tion. A con­trol room has been set up to process the in­for­ma­tion.

This is not the first time the poor and home­less have been tar­geted by In­dia.

Ahead of the 2010 Com­mon­wealth Games in New Delhi, slums were de­mol­ished and thou­sands of beg­gars pushed to the edge of the city.

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