Beggars back on streets, without fear

January 25, 2013 - 2:08:39 am

DOHA: The beggar menace is on the rise in the country, with alms-seekers getting bolder and venturing into newer areas to carry on with the illegal practice, little fearful of law enforcement officials.

They were earlier restricted to begging in front of mosques, mostly after Friday prayers, or got hold of people in parking lots near shopping complexes. But now the beggars are even entering offices and knocking at the doors of homes.

Most of the beggars are veiled women who mainly target cash-rich Qatari citizens and capitalise on the generosity of some of them. Some of the women show medical reports and doctors’ prescriptions while begging, while others even produce x-ray films to win sympathy, Al Sharq reported yesterday.

Most of the women beggars belong to Arab countries and seem to be professional alms-seekers because no expatriate living in Qatar for long would allow his family members (wives and daughters) to beg.

The women position themselves in crowded public places in an orderly fashion at specific times, which is an indicator that they are not needy but are professional beggars. In addition, they use taxis to go to far-flung places. 

No one has any estimate of their numbers, but community sources say more of them are visible now.

Most of the beggars enter the country on visit visas and prefer to stay in old and low-rent houses, and some even come with small children to win the sympathy of their patrons.

People have been demanding that the authorities concerned curb this illegal practice and take action against those providing visas to potential beggars.