Swarms of Beggars descend in Hyderabad

As the month of Ramzan is near to its end, Hyderabad witnesses a notable rise in the presence of professional non-local beggars. The surge also includes innocent children often accompanying the beggars. Reports indicate that a significant portion of these beggars hail from other cities and even outside the province. The beggars have stationed themselves at key thoroughfares, intersections, street, markets and even near medical outlets, targeting areas with high foot traffic. The beggars employ various tactics to solicit money from citizens, particularly during Ramzan when the practice of charitable giving is prevalent. Many alms seekers resort to theatrics, feigning injuries or infectious diseases by bandaging different body parts to evoke sympathy and generosity from the passer by. Some of the beggars, working in organised groups, congregate in bustling areas such a markers, street, mosques and commercial establishments. They often swarm people who offer alms, persistently seeking more contributions. After congregational prayers, such beggar groups traverse the city, targeting worshippers exciting mosques. They also strategically time their movements to coincide with prayers times at different mosques, relocating once the prayers are concluded. Moreover, most of them extend their reach to medical stores, general and grocery outlets, fruit stalls and even shopping malls, where they they sometimes employ persistent tactics, especially involving women and children to coerce donations. From morning till evening, they canvass neighborhoods, knocking on doors and soliciting alms, before setting up camp outside prominent dairy shops.

Majority of alm seekers hail from different towns, outside the province.

With Eid approaching, the beggars, in the city have intensified their presence in markets, aiming to capitalise on the increased foot traffic associated with the holiday shopping. In residential areas, groups of beggars often comprising women and children, solicit alms door-to-door. If denied cash, they may request food instead. However the proliferation of beggars has coincided with a rise in complaints regarding thefts from shoppers in markets, with police attributing some incidents to pickpockets and female thieves masquerading as beggars or shoppers. Meanwhile, outside the city, beggars flock to centres offering free meals during the Fajr and Maghrib prayers, before resuming their solicitation activities among citizen. The escalating presence of professional beggars poses multifaceted challenges for Hyderabad, ranging from public nuisance to potential security risks, underscoring the need for comprehensive strategies to address this issue.

Acknowledgement: Published in Daily Tribune on 10 April 2024

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