The Jammu and Kashmir State Child Protection Society (JKSCPS) has urged people to refrain from encouraging any sort of child begging by giving alms in cash or kind to the children, though they can support the family of such children. The Society has also asked the people not to encourage child labour.
An order issued by State Mission Director, JKSCPS, states that employing or causing any child to beg is an offence, which is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend for three years in terms of sub section (1) of section (25) of Juvenile Justice Act.
“Whoever having actual charge or control over the child (parents/guardians), abets the commission of the offences shall also be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to 1 year and also liable to fine.”
“The JKSCPS therefore, asks people to refrain from encouraging any sort of child begging by giving alms in cash or kind to the children, however they can support the family of such children, if they wish to,” it said.
The order further reads, “People should not encourage child labour by purchasing any sort of items being sold by such children at any road junction. They should not violate the law by employing any child as domestic help or as helper at any business concern.”
The people have been asked to report such incidents to the nearest child welfare committee or call child line number – 1098.
Pertinent to mention that as per census report of 2001 there were 175,630 working children in the 5-14 age group and according to 2011 census, the number had fallen to 25,528.
Despite such figures, the agencies working for child rights haven’t been able to put a stop to this menace.
It was only last year that the government, after much delay, while invoking the Jammu and Kashmir prevention of Beggary Act, 1960 imposed ban on begging.
An order issued in this regard by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar directed police to arrest any person found soliciting alms in public and at religious places or other private premises.
The SSPs Srinagar and Budgam were also asked to implement the order and report the number of such arrests on daily basis.
But despite ban, beggars are seen asking for alms in and outside Srinagar.
This year also, government issued a similar order, but implementation remains a big challenge.
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