No effective law to counter begging evil

Shakeel Anjum
Sunday, Apr 09, 2023

Islamabad: The challenging situation of maintaining a peaceful atmosphere as well as law and order emerges every year before the holy month of Ramazan and Eidul Fitr when gangs of criminals and bunches of beggars invade the twin-cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and scatter in and around the twin cities just to create unrest and sense of insecurity amongst the people.

Thousands of people related to begging backed by gangsters slot in different categories of street crimes have overrun the twin cities with their facilitators, contractors, and supervisors, the pertinent police sources confirmed when contacted, adding that both the varieties of the bunch of criminals are one life two forms who hold up each other as one family.

No effectual and practical strategy to overcome the sickening invasion of baggers has yet been made up by the district administrations of both the precise cities. But the twin cities police have kicked off a crackdown against the professional beggars as well as the street criminals, even, during the month of Ramazan but after the incursion of the professional beggars and hundreds of people managing squad of professional beggars, have been hunted down.

The powerful mafias running the begging trade purchased the key positions of the major cities well before starting the holy month of Ramazan. The begging mafia, fulfilling demands of the beggar’s dealers, has paid their settled amount, police sources dealing with cases of professional beggars, told this scribe when asked.

The mafia running the begging companies have hired hundreds of professional beggars from the nearby districts on contracts and lump sum basis, the people holding this business told this correspondent when enquired through their coordinator.

The hiring of innocent children – under the age of one year – to provide the women beggars to seek sympathy from the public, has been initiated by extremely poor people living in Katchi Basti. “Most of the minors have been hired from the families working with the brick kilns”, the coordinators maintained, that the original handicapped and ailing beggars have been managed and stashed with care at different outskirts and Katchi Abaadis.

They make young and old males and females look crippled with broken limbs or serious wounds or suffering from bodily infectious diseases. They even implant fake legs or simply cast their legs or arms in plaster as if broken. They wrap heavy bandages soiled in blood on their heads and arms, their eyes covered with patches with puss oozing out from beneath or completely blind, wearing dark glasses, even holding white canes in some cases. All these sights are deeply disturbing and any soft-hearted, God-fearing individual would immediately feel a tug of pain in his or her heart and their conscience will prompt them or to reach their pocket or wallet for some money to give them.

Begging mafia has already captured twin cities, but it will turn into a hurricane just after three weeks, he added. Afghan slums spill along railways lines in Islamabad are taking begging and robberies to the professional level, he maintained and added Afghan gangsters set organised crimes with strong begging networks in twin cities.

The facilitator exposed that criminal gangs were also organised in the begging industry, especially, women beggars who are attached to gangs of robbers who share information about the targeted houses with the gangsters, the facilitators said.

The sources revealed that the begging mafia divided the federal capital as well as Rawalpindi into various operative zones – F-6 and F-5 (including Marriott), G Sectors including 5, 6, 7, and F-7, Faisal Avenue up to Faizabad and from Faizabad to Rawat, F-8 and F and G Sectors from 9 to 14 and finally, Imam Barri.

The contractors provide rides from their residences to their working spots. The contractors provide shelter to their working beggars in Khanna, Zia Masjid, Mera Badi and Bhara Kahu, the sources said and added that every contractor employed 10 to 15 baggers in his squad and every beggar is bound to pay at least Rs1,000 per day to their contractors. “Underage baggers are valuable for the contractors because they use all efforts only to gather more money ending to thefts, mugging, and finally armed robberies and killings,” the facilitator maintained.

“The contractors constituted an unannounced association to watch their interests. According to the SoP, the contractor of one zone could not interfere in the affairs of the other administrative zones’,” a police report, quoting arrested contractors, revealed.

The mafia uses beggars in all anti-social activities including street crimes, and kidnapping of minors from hospitals, streets, and shrines. The beggars working under the protection of mafias are also brought into play in drug trafficking, kidnapping, and even prostitution, said the investigation report and added that female beggars also provide secret information and indications to robber gangs about treasures of targeted houses.

The people engaged in the abolishing of begging evil, said that the only police could not provide the required result but the district administrations have to put their proper share to get the objective.

There is no law to counter begging trade, however, the government should introduce it as is in Punjab. There should be Child Protection Law to counter such anti-society crimes, they said.

An act to consolidate the law for the rescue of protective custody, and rehabilitation of destitute and neglected children in the province of Punjab, says, whoever, employs any child for the purpose of bagging or causes any child to beg or whoever has the custody of, charge or charge of a child connives at or encourages his employment for the purpose of begging and whoever uses a child, connives at or encourages his employment for begging shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with the fine of thirty thousand rupees or with both.