By Firdous Hassan
Srinagar: With authorities imposing ban on begging in Srinagar, majority of the beggars, local as well as non-local, have moved to other districts of the valley to receive alms.
Earlier this month, authorities announced ban on begging outside mosques, shines and public places under Jammu & Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act I960, which describe “begging as an offense.”
Subsequently, on the orders of Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, a drive was launched during which scores of beggars in the city were detained.
Now, as few days are left for Eid-ul- Fitr, majority of these beggars have scattered in groups in different districts of the valley, where no such ban has been enforced yet.
As per the reports in north Kashmir, Sopore, Baramulla and Pattan town, beggars in hundreds have arrived overnight, who are seeking special alms on the eve of Eid.
“Some local beggars were already here, but now we see everywhere non-local children and women in huge number following and pestering people. Begging is legally prohibited in Kashmir but in Ramadan when Muslims give generous alms, the beggars take advantage of it,” said Sajad Ahmad a teacher from Baramulla.
Similar complaints have poured in from town like Sopore, Pattan and Tangmarg in the district, where the population of beggars have increased during last one week.
“They keep on following people to several meters and even catch hold of them if they refuse to give money,” Bushra Hamid, a student, said.
In Sopore, the beggar have literally invaded the Fruit Mandi and hospitals, who are “harassing people” if denied alms.
“Here in Sopore fruit market, the beggars visit different traders and take money from them. They have learnt the local dialect and refuse to leave the spot until money is being given to them,” said Manzoor Ahmad a local fruit dealer.
Similarly, reports from Anantnag and other south Kashmir towns suggest that the beggars tour to various areas to receive Sadqa-e-Fitr from households.
“They know that Sadq-e- Fitr has to be given before Eid. So these beggars especially non-locals demand from people. They even ask for donation in the form of clothes and other eatable items and never leave unless they are given something,” Arshid Ahmad, a resident of Pulwama, told The Kashmir Monitor over phone.
We stand united with our soldiers: All-party resolution
No call for calm in it disappoints Omar
New Delhi, Feb 16: All political parties of India Saturday put up a united face and expressed their “determination” to fight militancy following the Lethpora attack, underlining their solidarity with security forces for “defending the country’s unity and integrity”.
A meeting of all political parties, including the BJP and the Congress, passed a resolution condemning the attack and alleged support being given to it from across the border.
The all-party meeting took place in the aftermath of one of the biggest attacks on government forces on Thursday on the highway near Lethpora in Awantipora town, in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed.
Militant organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the responsibility for it stating that a local recruit of its carried out the attack.
The resolution did not name Pakistan but asserted that India has been facing the “menace of cross-border terrorism” which of late, it added, is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border.
The meeting was convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Condemning the attack, the resolution reiterated that India has displayed firmness and resilience in tackling it.
The parties vowed to stand with the families in their hour of grief.
“…Of late, terrorism in India is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border, India has displayed firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges. The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges. We stand united in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism, defending India’s unity and integrity,” read the resolution passed at the all-party meeting.
The meeting was attended by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien of the TMC, Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, Jithendra Reddy of the TRS, D Raja of the CPI, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP among others.
Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal, Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav are among others who attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed his displeasure with the resolution.
Taking to social networking site Twitter, Omar wrote: “Disappointed the resolution did not include a call for calm. Reports of violence in Jammu & tension in university/college campuses in some states, I would have expected an appeal for calm to have gone with the condemnation & condolences.”
Army officer killed in IED blast along Rajouri LoC
Srinagar, Feb 16: An army officer was killed and a soldier suffered injuries on Saturday while defusing and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on Line of Control in Rajouri.
The Major-rank officer was defusing the IED which had been allegedly planted by militants. The officer is from the Corps of Engineers.
The blast killed the officer and injured a soldier who was evacuated to hospital, officials said.
The IED was planted 1.5 km inside the Line of Control in the Naushera sector of Rajouri district.
The army has confirmed that it was an IED blast and not a BAT action.
The IED blast came two days after 49 CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish attacker rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a bus carrying them in Pulwama district in south Kashmir.
Militants can’t hide, will be punished: PM
Yavatmal (Maha), Feb 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that militant groups who carried out the Pulwama attack that left 49 CRPF troopers dead, could not hide and “will be punished” as the government forces have been given a “free hand” to tackle the inevitable.
Paying tributes to two Central Reserve Police Force troopers from Maharashtra and others killed in the deadly attack on Thursday, Modi said the country had “faith and pride in our soldiers and security forces and their sacrifices would not go in vain.”
“Wherever the militant groups and perpetrators may hide, our forces will flush them out and punish them,” Modi said amidst cheers from the gathering of farmers and women here.
“When and how to accomplish this had been left to the security forces,” he said, appealing to the people of the country to be “patient” and repose confidence in the armed forces, “as the militant perpetrators shall not be spared at any cost”, he added.