Thursday, 26 August 2010

Custodial Deaths at Beggar's Colony

Context: Deaths of INMATES in beggar's colony.

  • Inmates are "detained" under the Karnataka Prohibition of Beggary act. This act makes "begging" a criminal act
    • On "suspicion" of being a "beggar", you can be picked up by the police and sent to detention after a magisterial enquiry. 
    • In reality due process is NOT followed. 
    • People are picked up and sent into the "custody" of the "Beggar's Home"
  • The inmates who have died were in the "custody" of the state. Therefore these deaths are custodial deaths.
  • Inmates of the "Beggars Home" - because they are in State custody, are entitled to some Civil Liberties which include - legal aid, visits from relatives, food and basic necessities such a portable water
  • None of these were made available to the inmates and the deaths should be treated as "homicide by the state".
  • This is not a administration issue, the way the media seeks to portray it.  It is a case of custodial death!!
My friend Arul Selva of Slum Jagathu gave me this argument and I agree!

My take:
  • The current laws make poverty a crime. The sentence for this crime is "detention" in the "Beggars Home". This is the equivalent of a death sentence. 
  • Did somebody say we were living in a democracy? Wake up and smell the SHIT!


  1. I still say, we may be independent but we are not free.
    Democracy for us now is a slogan only where those in power are heard and rest all are second class citizens

  2. How democratic we are, pl read my latest post

  3. Totally agree this is a custodial death. I was surprised to know that there is such a thing as Beggars' Home, that too situated in Bangalore!

    Should begging be illegal? I don't think so. It's no different from a charitable institute that does fund raising. But considering I encounter beggars only at specific spots in the city, I think there's some undeclared zoning going on that I am not aware of, similar to the street food vendors.

  4. It is surely custodial death. A PIL in the Karnataka High court is the only possible relief (though how effective is a question).