BEGGARY IN TRAINS, A PUBLIC NUISANCE
Begging in metropolitan trains has increased, much to the annoyance of the passengers, particularly in the fully packed Colombo bound trains in the morning. Passengers said the beggars dressed in dirty clothes squeeze themselves into the crowded trains without least concern about its inconvenience to the passengers. They pointed out that the beggars considered their dirty rags a uniform for their profession.
One of the beggars carrying his wife on his back, claiming that she is handicapped and unable to walk, boards trains packed to their capacity and creeps through the crowd. It is surprising why he could not work even as a manual worker and maintain his wife if he is strong enough and healthy to carry his wife on his back.
A young man swallowing swords is a cynosure of the crowd, but many passengers keep their eyes shut or glance through the window to avoid the gruesome scene. They said the individuals may be playing a trick and not actually swallowing the swords, but the children who noticed it could experiment it by swallowing knives or anything they found in place of swords.
An employee of a private sector institution in Colombo Sumanaratne Deegodagamage (40) said beggars were at liberty to carry on their trade without least concern about its annoyance to the passengers.
“We have laws to take action against individuals causing public annoyance but it is in question why that law does not apply to the train service. If two men create a rowdy scene after drinks in a public place they are liable to legal action against them. However the railway authorities are moribund inactive about the public annoyance caused by the beggars. Most of these individuals are in a position to do a job and earn their living but they have resorted to beggary to make a fast buck to find money for drugs. They are not genuinely in beggary,” he said.
Another passenger Kamal Weerasinghe (35) from Hikkaduwa, a technical officer in a government department said begging in trains would bring disrepute to the country. He pointed out that tourists travelling by trains were quite often the main target of the beggars.
Passengers requested the Railway Security Service and the officers in railway stations to carry out raids to prevent beggary in trains.
Meanwhile senior officials of the Railway Security Service said they were carrying out continual raids to prevent the nuisance of beggars and peddlers in the trains, but they did not receive any public cooperation. He pointed out that the only way to cooperate with the railway authorities to prevent this nuisance was to refrain from charity and patronizing the peddlers.
Passengers requested the Railway Security Service and the officers in railway stations to carry out raids to prevent beggary in trains