The UT Commission for Protection of Child Rights is all set to launch an awareness drive against child beggars in the city. “Child beggary is a menace. It a cognisable offence,” said chairperson of the commission, Devi Sirohi, while adding that the aim of the drive is to create awareness among public, and also to assimilate these children in the mainstream.
The commission officials are in the process of holding meetings with a number of non-governmental organisations and mobilising support through various groups. Support has also been sought from management committees of various temples as child beggars have often been spotted outside temples.
“Through this drive, we plan to raid the places where these children are seen begging most often and identify the groups they are working in,” said Sirohi. Some of the places earmarked are market areas of Sector 15, Sector 17, Sector 22, area near Fun Republic Cinemas, Manimajra, and Sector 43.
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“These children turn to beggary because that is the only option they are provided by their poor families. But we hope that we will be able to shift them to child homes of the government, and provide them schooling,” said Sirohi, adding that difference will be made only if support is obtained from society.
While urging people not to encourage child beggary by giving them money, Sirohi highlighted that such acts do not add up to a humanitarian exercise. “Such beggars work in professional groups. Many times, we do not even realise that the women we see begging in markets carrying a child, might have rented that child for the purpose of begging,” she pointed out. “It is theft in guise of beggary,” she added.
The last such drive was held in 2009. As per the estimate of the commission, there are around 4,000 child beggars at different places in the city.