I came across a thin woman when travelling in a train. This woman with tear-filled eyes and carrying a baby poured out her tragic story to me. “I am a resident in Mirigama. I have two children. My husband is bedridden after falling from a coconut tree. We have no livelihood. That is why we are begging in the train as a means of living.” the woman said.
There are about 20 children from both sexes, all under16 years of age. There is nobody to stop this tragedy We have no livelihood
The passengers in the train had made generous contributions, handing out notes to the value of Rs. 20 and 50. She bestowed merits on them and disembarked from the train. The other day, an aged man boarded the train with a baby in his hand and had a child accompanying him. The baby was the one who was with the woman the previous day. This old man also began to relate his story with tear filled eyes.
“ We have no place to live. These are my daughter’s children. My daughter and her husband met with an accident and died. I am the one who looks after these children. Please give us some money to buy some eatables.” the man said. Then, he had also been successful in collecting money from the passengers.
In the meantime, a hawker who sold apples told the people not to give him money because he was a thief. However, the so called thief left the train without saying anything in response. This writer then approached the apple seller and listened to his version of the story.
These beggars beg to earn a daily wage. One beggar earns about Rs.2500 a day. The balance is given to the person who employs them. This ring operates in the form of a mafia. The children are obtained on rent
“Sir, that man is not the parent of those children. There is another woman. They have got together and continue with this ‘business’. The parents of those two children are somebody else. That man gives the parent Rs.1500 for allowing to bring the small one and Rs. 2000 for the big one. The mother of these children is a drug addict. She also begs and obtains the money given to the child to buy drugs. As a result the children have to starve. It is I who gave even an apple to them. I do not know what this man will do to these children,” he went on.
He added that the person concerned was a K.G.( Kerala Ganja which is also known as Cannabis) seller. He has been arrested by the police for selling ganja to school children. One child was small and the other is said to have attained age. I do not know what will be the fate of these children who are at the mercy of this ganja seller, the apple seller said. He has alerted the train guards about the man, but his warnings have fallen on deaf ears.
“Then, how do they beg in the train” this writer asked in response.
He said that there is a kingpin in this racket. That big beggar plans who goes where depending on the trains that operate at night. He is the one who decides the modus operandi of all beggars. He knows that nothing will happen to him and his accomplices. He pointed out that the daily earnings of each beggar is around Rs.5000. He enjoys the time he spends with his accomplices. Outsiders can’t invade their territory and if this happens there will be a tragedy, according to him.
I then contacted another person to verify the story related to him by the apple seller. He was a book seller.
He related the other side of the story. “ There are no fans in the train compartments because the beggars got together and removed them with the help of the employees of the railway stations. These beggars beg to earn a daily wage. One beggar earns about Rs.2500 a day. The balance is given to the person who employs them. This ring operates in the form of a mafia. The children are obtained on rent. There is a Child Protection Authority established in this country. But, nobody comes to rescue these innocent children. There are about 20 children from both sexes, all under 16 years of age. There is nobody to stop this tragedy,” he affirmed.
The other day, an aged man boarded the train with a baby in his hand and had a child accompanying him. The baby was the one who was with the woman the previous day
What’s sad about the story is that nobody is responsible to find out about this crime and the abusing of children that takes place with the connivance of the people. Nobody seems to come forward for the protection of the children. No questions are asked by the authorities as to why these children resort to begging in this manner. Train commuters request the authorities to focus their attention on these crimes and explore the possibility of controlling them by punishing the wrongdoers.