Beggars use Infants for Sympathy

Bangalore City Crime Health State

They drug them and put them to sleep so that they do not disturb them while begging.

Around 90 per cent of the infants carried by beggars are not their own, but are kidnapped from various places, said A.B. Nandesh, Chief Warder of Beggars Colony.

By Esther Esha.

Bangalore, Jan. 29, 2019.

According to a survey conducted by Nirashritara Parihara Kendra in 2012, there were 7,600 beggars in Bangalore and approximately 18,000 to 20,000 beggars over the state of Karnataka.

Nandesh added that when they see mother and child begging together, they are sent to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

The next process would be medical tests to find out if they have any medical issues and DNA to find out if their baby really belongs to them.

Seemant Kumar Singh, Additional Commissioner of Police, East Zone said, “In Cosmopolitan cities, we can see that children are taken in their arms of other children or adults for begging. Children being used is a serious problem and we must find out if there is any racket involved of children being lifted from someplace, being drugged or being forced into the act of begging.

“We must find out from where these people come from and whether the children belong to that particular lady or parents. The only thing we can do to prove if the child is theirs is through a DNA test. Police in various cities are tracking them down and that has shown good results.”

“In the initial stage, we see to it that there are no beggars near the traffic signals. The local police or the ‘Arrest Team’ rounds them up and they are handed over to the authorities. However, these beggars are released in a day or two and they come right back. It’s a very complex situation where the police and the other authorities have to dig deep as to why it is happening at all.”

According to B.K. Shalini, Counsellor for the Beggars Colony, “There are 580 male beggars and 153 female beggars who were brought from Bangalore and were caught begging. Among these 94 men and 81 women are suffering from mental illnesses.”

Deepak Sutar, another counsellor said, “Among the mentally ill we have degree-holding patients, doctors and well-read people. For them, a library is available, where they can read newspapers and books.

He explained that the reasons for them to beg are family problems, drinking addiction, and old aged people who do not have anyone to look after them.

Once brought to the Beggars Colony they are trained in tailoring, painting, crafts, and in agricultural sectors. They are counselled not to return to begging after they leave the place.

He then said that 20 percent of the beggars come from Karnataka and 80 percent from states like Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh.”

Rama Rao, a 60-year-old man from Vijayawada has come to Bangalore in search of a job, however, he was seen by the ‘Arrest team’ on the footpath near a railway station. He was then admitted in Beggars Colony.

Shivraj, another counsellor of the Beggars Colony said,” beggars are brought for a year as punishment.  It is mentioned in the 1975 act that begging is prohibited. “