‘Begging a social crime’: Mumbai Police starts drive to make city beggar free

Date: February 14, 2021
Source: India Today
Location: Mumbai, India

Prerana’s Take: Initiatives like these require sensitivity on the part of the police. Post rescue, what happens to the rehabilitation of those who beg? What about their right to livelihood, and dignity? All duty bearers need to plan and execute a more holistic and humane approach while dealing with this issue.

To make Mumbai “begging free”, all police stations in the city have been directed to track down beggars and lodge them at a special home in Chembur after testing them for Covid-19.

The “Zero Beggars” drive will be carried out throughout this month as per the directions issued by Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nagre Patil to all zonal DCPs.

The directions were issued under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959.

“Begging is a social crime. All police stations have been instructed to detain these beggars, take permission from the court, conduct their Covid-19 tests and then lodge them at the beggars home,” said DCP (PRO) S Chaitanya.

“The drive has been taken up to end the practice of people forcing children to engage in begging. Begging is a social crime, and it gives a bad image to a city like Mumbai,” a senior police official said.

However, experts have raised questions on whether there was enough space to accommodate the beggars at the Chembur home and if they would be rehabilitated.

“Will this drive end begging in Mumbai? For how long will the beggars home keep them? Is there a plan to rehabilitated them? The police can implement the law but what next. There should be a plan to eradicate begging and it should not be a token drive,” said advocate and activist Abha Singh.

Till Friday, the Mumbai Police had rounded up 14 beggars and sent them to a beggar’s home in Chembur. In November last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had identified nearly 29,000 persons, including women and children, engaged in activities of begging in the city.

Read the India Today (Source) article here.

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