Anyone who has lived or ever been to Delhi, would have noticed the cluster of beggars on the streets that are evenly distributed throughout the city. Of late, this has turned into a menace, turning into a demerit in an otherwise beautiful and well developed city. The often reported links between the kidnap of children and the beggar mafia induces fear and has put Delhi into the list of most unsafe cities in the country. These beggars, be it adults or children, keep pounding on the car windows for alms and help, often crossing the limit and irritating the daily commuters. However I guess, every Delhiite, irrespective of their response to these child beggars would feel a certain amount of sympathy to these kids who are forced to work in extreme climates for people who ill-treat them and use them for money.
It is a rather usual sight especially in Delhi, Mumbai and several cities of Tamil Nadu to see children clad in rags asking for money. It is even more disturbing to see these children sifting through the garbage, searching for little morsels of food. While the rest of us enjoy our school and college lives, anticipating the release of a certain movie or partying all night long or buying branded products, these children are severely punished by their gang leaders if they fail to collect a certain amount of money each day. The beggar mafia thrives majorly on child abduction as using children for the purpose is far more effective, as it helps gain sympathy. It has been found out from previous studies that the children are kidnapped and starved for a period of time, or even worse maimed beyond recognition. Often they are tortured brutally if they come back with an amount less than what is expected of them. Moreover if recent reports are to be believed, these children are often forced into illegal adoptions, child marriages, porn industry etc. Disturbing!
However this issue, owing to the rising number of kidnapping cases has gained nationwide attention in the past few years. The different laws banning beggary has been of no use, in spite of the publicity it has received. Delhi alone makes about 400 million rupees from this illegal act. The government should take more initiatives to enforce stringent rules and severe punishment for those involved in this mafia. The citizens too should report such incidents of brutality and should avoid giving alms to child beggars.
Being the country that hosted the largest Commonwealth Games till date, this should be an easier task as far as the Indian government is concerned. The alarming rate at which such grotesque incidents take place should indeed put the government to work, and make the people more aware of their duties as citizens. Considering the recent surveys, reports and occurrences, one might wonder if these children are begging for money or begging for sympathy and help!
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