Crime

Ahead of Ivanka’s Visit, Police Start Drive to Keep Hyderabad Beggar-Free

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With the visit of Ivanka Trump looming in the horizon, the Hyderabad city police have started a drive to keep beggars off the streets. Their acts are dangerous to the safety of vehicular traffic and public in general, the police say to justify their move.

Ivanka, the daughter and adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, will be in the city to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Hitech City from Nov. 28 to 30. The event is expected to be attended by hundreds of foreign delegates. Ivanka is also expected to do some sightseeing in the city as well as interact with entrepreneurs.

Ahead of the event, about 400 beggars have been taken away from Goshamahal area and put in a rehabilitation center at Chanchalguda Jail, according to New Indian Express. “As per instructions of Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy to make the city beggar-free, we have shifted those in our area to rehabilitation center,” Goshamahal ACP Narender Reddy was quoted as saying in the report.

“Some beggars argued that we were taking their freedom to live anywhere they want but we told them it was for their own good because they are going to the rehab center where they will be taken care of,” another official told the publication. About 6,000 beggars in the city are likely to be shifted to rehab centers and shelters for homeless during the drive.

Some beggars staying at Anand Ashram said they were not beggars at all, the Hindu reported. “After seeking blessings of Lord Sai Baba at Chaderghat temple, I was eating prasadam outside the premises. All of a sudden, a group of policemen picked me up stating they will provide lunch for that afternoon and lodged me in the jail,” the report quoted a 35-year-old daily wage earner, who has been at Anand Ashram for over a week, as saying.

The report also quoted a weaver, who had come to the city to meet his friends, who was lodged at the ashram. Several professional beggars had moved out of the city fearing arrest and the police were now targeting ‘poor-looking’ people and sending them to the ashram, the publication cited a senior officer in the Prisons Department as saying.

A similar drive was organized in the city when the then U.S President Bill Clinton visited in 2000.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy issued a prohibitory order on Nov. 7 to ban begging. The order stated: “It has come to my notice through the public that many beggars are begging alms in an indecent manner. They are also employing children and handicapped persons to solicit or receive alms at the main junctions of the road. Such acts are causing annoyance and awkwardness by exposing in an indecent manner to divert the attention of the vehicular traffic as well as pedestrians and public in general to induce them to give alms. These acts are dangerous to the safety of the vehicular traffic and public in general.” It added that begging is prohibited under Section 144 of criminal procedure code 1973 and the order would remain in force until Jan. 7, 2018.

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