Ahead of Ivanka Trump visit, Indian city clearing beggars from streets

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Ahead of Ivanka Trump’s visit to Hyderabad later this month for an entrepreneurship summit, the Indian city is trying to clean up its image by rounding up about 6,000 beggars and sending them to either shelters or rehab.

Police in Hyderabad made the announcement earlier this week, when they also outlawed begging until early January and threatened to fine or jail anyone who defies the order. Hyderabad Police Commissioner M. Mahendar Reddy said that the begging was becoming a nuisance and causing a danger to both drivers and pedestrians.

“Such acts are causing annoyance and awkwardness by exposing in an indecent manner to divert the attention of the vehicular traffic as well as pedestrians and public, in general, to induce them to give alms,” the city’s police force said in a notice. “These acts are dangerous to the safety of the vehicular traffic and public in general.”

City officials also said they want the president’s daughter and other dignitaries visiting the city for the summit to get the best picture of Hyderabad in case they decide to do some sightseeing. So far, police have already rounded up 400 beggars and sent them to a rehabilitation center at Chanchalguda Central Jail in Hyderabad.

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Trump, who is a top White House adviser, will represent the U.S. at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit and is expected to speak alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President Trump tweeted about his daughter’s trip in August. The U.S. and India are co-hosting the summit, which is called “Women First, Prosperity for All.”

“The Indian government and Prime Minister Modi are great partners, and we thank the city of Hyderabad, whose robust startup ecosystem, top notch talent, and supportive government policies have made it one of the world’s leading startup capitals,” MaryKay Carlson, chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, said in a statement to Newsweek. “We are thrilled to be partnering together on GES 2017!”

A homeless girl asks for alms outside a coffee shop in Mumbai, India, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui - D1BETLTHEXAA

A homeless girl in India asks for alms outside a coffee shop.  (Reuters)

This is not the first time that Hyderabad has taken beggars off its street. In 2000, officials also removed homeless people from the streets for a visit from then-President Bill Clinton.

India is not the only country to take measures to keep the homeless off city streets during major evets.

A nonprofit, Colorado for the Homeless, gave people living on the street movie tickets when Denver hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and, ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, a private Brazilian security firm was tasked with removing beggars from tourist areas and taking them to police stations in Rio de Janeiro. 

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