Letters to the Editor: No begging please!
Whenever I cross the exit gate (near the parking lot) at Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai airports, usually I hear this: ‘Dear brother, I haven’t eaten for three days...see the kid... . I need to feed him/her. Please give me some money.’ You see these kind of people around there who race behind you up to the car. And I see some familiar faces there at Thiruvananthapuram airport, where I often travel to. Those people are still begging uttering the same words.
Some sell lottery tickets and quit the begging business. But they also pressurise people to buy at least one ticket. Some say these people themselves print the tickets and they have agents too. I don’t know if this is true.
Why do I write this here? I have some similar experiences here in Muscat as well. Near GTC - Ruwi, an expat with an injured hand was roaming for several days with a friend. They were asking for money for treatment. Even I helped them. The second time I understood they are frauds.
During three Ramadan holidays I observed near CBD, an Arab and his wife in a black colour Nissan Patrol. They had the same thing to say every time: “We are coming from Salalah and unfortunately we are running out of fuel. Please help us!”
Two months ago, when I was parking my car, an Arab man asked me for some money to go to a place in the interiors. I told him I don’t have money.
Then, he followed me up to the lift and asked me angrily, “You don’t even have 500bz?”
Luckily, my lift opened at that time and I escaped.
Last week an expat came to a barber shop in Ruwi accompanied by a young adult. He showed the picture of a person on a hospital bed with a number of medical apparatus fixed to his body.
The well-dressed expat addressing the barber (from UP in India), said, “Dear brother, just help him. His brother is in hospital and he needs to go for a surgery as per the instructions of his doctor. If you want, we can make a video call, so you can speak with him.”
The barber told him, “I am an employee here and once my arbab [sponsor] comes let me ask him to help you.”
Then, the expat and his accomplice left the place angrily.
Some of these people seem to be little genuine as they try to sell perfumes or ballpoint pens. But door-to-door sales are prohibited here. So many have had similar experiences near Ruwi and CBD.
The ROP is doing a good job, conducting frequent raids and catching beggars. Mostly, beggars are expats and people from Arabic speaking countries. Some of them wear Omani dresses and cheat people. They should be punished as well.
Such acts will definitely make people wary of those in genuine problem. As human beings we need to help the poor.
But cheating cannot be tolerated. Begging should not be encouraged. We need to help the ROP remove all beggars from the sultanate.
Jeyan Varghese Via email