32 rescued in 3 months; All rescued minors non-J&K residents from Punjab, Bihar, UP; will handover them to CWC’s of their respective districts, herculean task to stop child begging in Sgr, drive to continue in city parts in days ahead: CWC head Dr Khair-un-Nisa
Srinagar, Oct 04 :
Acting swiftly after receiving repeated complaints about child begging in the capital city of Srinagar, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of the district Wednesday swung into action and conducted a “surprise raid” in the city centre Lal Chowk where 14 child beggars were rescued and taken for counselling.
This was for the first time that a ‘special surprise drive’ against child begging was launched by the CWC at Lal Chowk. “We had been receiving complaints about frequent child begging in various parts of Srinagar. Today, we decided to conduct a surprise check at Lal Chowk where we caught hold of 14 child beggars including four girls,” CWC head for Srinagar, Dr Khair-un-Nisa told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
She said while they were taking the child beggars to a shelter home at Nishat ‘their parents started begging for the release of their kids. “This is what makes our job tough. There is a nexus between parents and kids. Ironically, the parents of the kids rescued today were also beggars,” Dr Nisa said, adding that “we will counsel all the 14 kids (all of them minors) and handover them to the CWCs of their respective districts/States.”
Asked about any tentative number of outside beggars in Srinagar, she said there is no accurate data available as the same may be lying with the Labour department. “Majority of these beggars are from Punjab, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” she said. “In three months, we have rescued 32 child beggars including today’s 18.”
Dr Nisa said that the special drive will continue in the days ahead as complaints of large numbers of street children including those indulging in begging outside major shrines and markets of Srinagar.
“So far, the previous cases have been transferred to CWCs of other places outside J&K for their rehabilitation as almost all among them were non-J&K residents. All of them were migrants and were shifted to their native places,” she said.
She said an eight-year-old domestic helper was also rescued from Srinagar after a neighbour called the CWC. “Our primary job is to counsel and rehabilitate the rescued persons and hand them over to their respective CWCs,” Dr Nisa said. She said that all the residents of Srinagar who have minor domestic helpers at their should voluntarily approach the CWC. To a query about how she feels to lead the drive against children in street situations being a woman, Dr Nisa said that she has done LLB and being a law-aware person, she forgets about gender and focuses on her duty while on the streets.”
“I forget I am a woman and my primary focus always remains to perform my duty without fear,” she told KNO. It may be recalled that every year, Kashmir sees the arrival of lakhs of outside beggars especially in the month of holy Ramadhan. They arrive in the month of March and stay here till November. An official in the social welfare department told KNO that there is a proper rehabilitation policy for the beggars in J&K. “We rescue the beggars especially child beggars and lodge them in shelter homes. They are later being handed over to concerned CWCs,” he said. Locals at Hazratbal shrine told KNO that last Friday on the eve of Eid-e-Meelad-un-Nabi (SAW), at least 500 outside beggars including children were found begging. “Many children were found chasing the devotees seeking money. The devotees felt irritated by the huge presence of non-J&K beggars especially children,” said Abdul Aziz Mir, a shopkeeper outside the revered shrine of Hazratbal—(KNO)