Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

India clears out panhandlers ahead of Ivanka's visit

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Melinda Barton | 12 November, 2017, 02:54

As of now, Hyderabad police has removed close to 400 beggars from the city calling begging an act risky to traffic and public in general.

The summit is set for November 28 through November 30, and with hundreds of foreign delegates from across the globe planning to attend the event, police are making the effort to remove the beggars to rid the area of any potential danger that could come from an encounter.

About 6,000 beggars were expected to be placed in rehab centers and homeless shelters.

The Telangana government, which wants Hyderabad to be seen as a global capital, is keen on ensuring that no beggars are seen around, according to reports. "Did they expect them (dignitaries) to take a stroll and talk to the beggars on the street?" South Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police V Satyanarayana told TOI: "We were told that Ivanka Trump might visit Charminar, Laadbazar and Chowmahalla Palace".

Questions have arose surrounding the ethical nature of corralling thousands of beggars off the streets in order to maintain pristine appearances for Ivanka Trump's visit.

A similar drive was organized in the city when the then U.S President Bill Clinton visited in 2000.

"The preparations are happening in every corner of our city", he said. George Rakesh Babu, founder of the homeless charity Good Samaritans in Hyderabad, said that the central jail's maximum capacity was only 1,000, according to The Washington Post. "These acts are unsafe to the safety of the vehicular traffic and public in general", the notification read, adding that begging is prohibited under Section 144 of criminal procedure code 1973 and the order would remain in force for two months.

"The beggars are also employing children and handicapped persons to solicit or receive alms at the main junctions of the road". Hyderabad is home to around nine million people and is also a growing technology hub in India that houses tech firms like Google and Microsoft. While the city has attempted to rebrand itself, the gap between the rich and the poor is huge and many homeless people rely on the middle-class denizens for food.

Police say the plan is a humanitarian move and that authorities will first try to establish contact with the beggars' families before sending them into the units.

About 400 beggars have already been swept from the Goshamahal suburb and lodged at a jail's rehab center, The Indian Express reported.