Begging at public and religious places in Srinagar has been banned and the police directed to arrest the offenders, according to a new order by the Jammu and Kashmir government.
"Begging being an offence under the Act (Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act I960), it is imperative that strict necessary action under law be initiated against the offenders," the government said in a statement.
Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah issued the order on Wednesday.
Srinagar being the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir holds a great importance in the socio-economic landscape of the state and so it is contingent upon the administration to take all measures necessary to make the district more citizen friendly and to prevent public nuisance at all costs, the order stated.
"It has been observed that off late there is a proliferation of beggars on the streets of Srinagar which creates massive nuisance for the general public," The deputy commissioner said.
The order stated that any person found soliciting alms in a public place, or in or about a mosque, temple or other place of public worship, whether or not under any pretense and entering on any private premises for the purpose of soliciting alms shall be immediately arrested under Section 4 of the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act, 1960 read with Section 61 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Svt 1989.
Those exposing or exhibiting with the object of obtaining or extorting alms, any sore, wound, injury, deformity or disease whether of human being or an animal shall also be arrested, it said.
"Also, any person found having no visible means of subsistence and wandering about or remaining in any public place or in a temple, mosque or other place of public worship in such condition or manner as makes it like that the person doing so exists by soliciting alms or allowing himself to be used as an exhibit for the purpose of soliciting alms, does not include soliciting money or fee or gift for a purpose authorized by law or authorized in the prescribed manner by the District Magistrate, shall also be arrested," the order read.
The deputy commissioner has directed senior superintendents of police, Srinagar and Budgam, to implement the order in letter and spirit and report the number of such arrests on a daily basis.
(With inputs from agencies)