'Beggars' picked up at random for Colony

'Beggars' picked up at random for Colony

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Social Welfare Department Principal Secretary T Venkataiah admitted that the ‘goof up’ by their own personnel has resulted in an ‘indiscriminate’ round up of people who are not beggars.

“It is unfortunate that our own personnel have not scrutinised properly the people who have been brought to the Beggars’ Colony. We are trying to probe the matter now,” he said.

As per the Karnataka Prohibition of Beggary Act 1975, it is mandatory to produce a detained beggar before a magistrate within 24 hours from the time of arrest. However, at the Beggars’ Colony, where over 2,533 beggars were detained until last week, it appears most of them were not even questioned of their personal details at the preliminary stage.

“It appears that most of them were not even questioned, registered at the Colony and produced before a magistrate to ascertain whether he or she is a beggar or not,” said a department official.

Lost and found

Heartrending tales kept unfolding even on Sunday at the Beggars’ Colony, when Afroz Mohammed found his blind mother-in-law, Ajim Bibi (59). According to Afroz, his mother-in-law, his wife and himself had boarded a bus from Nagavara, one-and-a-half months ago.

Unfortunately, unable to comprehend where she had to alight, Ajim Bibi got down a stop ahead of her destination, only to be picked up by the Social Welfare Department personnel and brought to the Beggars’ Colony. After having heard about the situation in the Beggars’ Colony, Afroz and his wife finally traced Ajim Bibi there.

According to Dr Kishore Kumar, Department of Psychiatry, Nimhans, who is treating the traumatised inmates at the Beggars’ Colony, the Prohibition of Beggary Act has lots of loopholes which need to be debated and deliberated upon. “It is a fundamental rule to first define - who is a beggar and who is not - before being implemented into an Act,” he said.

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