Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights claimed to have rescued almost 1,084 juvenile beggars in the last two months, according to a report by Hindustan Times. In a move to eradicate child beggary from the state, the commision had started a statewide campaign in January and asked district child rights protection officers to strictly follow Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971. Punjab Child Rights Commission secretary K S Pannu had urged all the district child rights protection officers to make sure that they were free from child begging.
The highest number of children (282) were rescued from Gurdaspur district. Pathankot district was at the second place with 146 child beggars rescued. Of the rescued children, 214 were admitted to schools. The parents were warned against using their kids for begging and were made aware of the consequences.
Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971
Punjab Prevention of Beggary Act, 1971 states that the practice of begging is a crime and there will be custody, trial, and punishment for the offenders. It defines child ‘as a person below five years’. The act recommends up to three years of imprisonment for those who violate rules.
“Whoever employs or causes any person to solicit or receive alms, or whoever having the custody, charge, care of child, connives at or encourages employment or causing of a child to solicit or receive alms or whoever uses another person as an exhibit for the purposes of begging, shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years but which shall not be less than one year,” the act states.