A Farewell to Alms
Bangalore Mirror went along with a police team in Sampangiram Nagar as they cracked down on beggars and booked them under the Karnataka Prohibition of
I was working at a construction site in Mandya and after my father’s demise, I did not have anywhere to go… I came to Bengaluru in March end last year… There was no work in the city. I go to shops and beg for food… I beg at junctions when I’m really hungry
– Sandesh (above) while he was being escorted to Sampangiram Nagar police station
He also added that the Police would be looking into the begging mafia too.
Additional Commissioner of Police (West), Soumendu Mukherjee said, “We have formed separate teams (law and order and traffic) and jurisdictional ACPs will be the Nodal officers who will look after this drive under the DCP’s direction.”
A senior officer said that the beggars have been increasing after covid and despite making efforts to reform them, they go back to begging. “Begging is easy money so they prefer not to work. Even if we send them to the relief centre, they run away from there.”
Sandesh, 40, from Mandya, was another beggar who was picked up by the police. Initially petrified, he later said he was feeling reassured about going to a shelter. “I was working at a construction site in Mandya and after my father’s demise last year, I did not have a home. My old mother is being looked after by my relatives. I came to the city, depressed, and by then the lockdown had been imposed. I started sleeping on the streets and begging for food from shops and restaurants. I eat two meals a day and beg at traffic junctions when I’m hungry,” he said, hungrily eating the food given to him at the police station.
Jyothi S, 26, has a heart-breaking story. She was caught along with her five-year-old, begging for alms. She has three children and a husband who is bedridden. She said, “I don’t have any other skills so I have to resort to begging. My two children go to a government school and I take my youngest son along when I go to beg. This helps to meet our daily needs.”
Oviya, 32, a transgender woman from Tamil Nadu, says she earns Rs 400 a day out of which she gives Rs 200 to the person who runs the shelter where she lived. “We don’t get jobs in the city. People look down upon us. If not begging, we don’t know where else to go or what to do,”
One of the Nodal officers said that those booked will be sent to the Central Relief Committee after undergoing a medical check-up and a covid test.