Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Parliament Passed Anti-beggar Bills on Tuesday

Wednesday, 01 April 2009

Parliament on Tuesday passed the Sylhet Metropolitan Police Bill 2009 and Barisal Metropolitan Police Bill 2009, setting jail terms of up to three months for begging. The new laws fix no fines for beggars, but state if anyone is caught begging in public places or shows disabilities to get alms, they will face time behind bars.

The laws also says anyone guilty of 'eve teasing' will face imprisonment for three months, a fine of Tk 500 or both. If anyone uses public places as a lavatory, they face a Tk 500 fine.

It sets a Tk 300 fine for anyone caught spitting or smoking in violation of public notices. Similar punishment is applicable if anyone bathes or washes in public ponds, tanks or by their banks.

Home minister Sahara Khatun proposed the bills, passed by voice vote. BNP MPs M K Anwar, Jafrul Islam Chowdhury, Nazimuddin Ahmed and Asifa Ashrafi Papiya had earlier proposed some amendments to the bills. But they were rejected by voice vote.

Nazimuddin Ahmed questioned whether it was possible to stop begging by such laws. With the passage of the two bills, Barisal and Sylhet cities get metropolitan police forces for the first time. The four other divisional cities—Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna—already have separate metropolitan forces.

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