Do beggars have an opportunity to live as respectable citizen?
A RTI application has highlighted the issue of begging prevalent in the society. In response to an application filed under RTI Act, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) of J & K has maintained that there is not even a single beggar in entire Jammu region. In reply to the specific question about the exact number of beggars, the District Social Welfare Officers of Udhampur, Reasi and Poonch clearly mentioned that there was no any beggar in these districts. Further, the district officer Jammu replied that the question didn’t pertain to their department.
Under section 3 of the JK Prevention of Beggary Act 1960, begging is an offence and under section 4 of the Act, a police officer can arrest the beggar without arrest warrant and send him to sick home or beggar home. However, hundreds of beggars including children, disabled and old are seen begging around the religious shrines and streets of cities.