Some ‘criminals’ longing to go back to prison in Delhi…..Read more

Lew law becoming bane for leprosy affected beggars

The Hush Post | 11:50 | Two-minute read

Decriminalization of begging has rendered many beggars in East Delhi ‘homeless’. The Delhi High court’s recent verdict has ‘displaced’ these poor people from the only shelter they had- prison.

Around 40 inmates of Tahirpur shelter home ‘HLTB’ are now free. However, the freezing cold outside has turned their freedom into a nightmare. These people are now finding it hard to survive out in the open during these harsh winters.

Leprosy and Tuberculosis affected beggars are spending their nights on footpaths in Delhi since January.

Due to the social stigma attached with leprosy, these beggars have neither been accepted by their families nor the society.

Though the shelter home was a prison, it still provided the beggars a home for a major part of their life. The not only had a roof over them, access to medical care and uninterrupted daily meals proved to be a boon.

Seeking rehabilitation, one of the inmates recently filed a petition in the High Court asking it to allow them to stay in the shelter home these winters. Subsequently, the court has asked the Centre and Delhi state governments to come out with a policy and take all inmates back as an interim measure.

So far the governments haven’t paid heed to the court’s directions. Delhi social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said that he had passed directions last week asking the authorities to take these inmates back.

Nevertheless, the government still has a reservation policy for leprosy affected persons, but not many have been able to avail jobs under it.

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