Gurpreet Singh: Displacing poverty, not the poor, is a better solution for Prince Harry's wedding

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      What binds together royalty in Windsor with Indian government officials and municipal authorities in B.C.? In answer to that question, I would say it's their disgust for the poor.

      As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting ready for their royal wedding in May, officials are planning to clear the streets of Windsor of beggars, with the help of police. The reason given is that their “detritus” is presenting the town in a poor light.

      Already, the news has stirred controversy in London and even British prime minister Theresa May has expressed her disagreement.

      This follows a similar crackdown on beggars in the Indian city of Hyderabad city of India before the November Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

      U.S. president Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was among the delegates who attended.

      Close to 500 panhandlers were rounded up to turn Hyderabad into a “beggar-free” city. So much so, those providing information about beggars were given 500 rupees ($10 Canadian) each as a cash prize.

      In 2013, the City of Abbotsford had to apologize after municipal officials dumped chicken manure at a gathering place of homeless to drive them out.

      This only suggests that policymakers across the world only know how to displace poor and relocate the poor, rather than looking into the mirror and finding root causes of socioeconomic inequality that leads to homelessness and begging.

      If they are really fearful of the poor, all they need to do is remove poverty by ensuring fair redistribution of wealth. They should try to see the problem through a poor man’s lens to understand what forces them to live like that.

      Such brutal and inhuman quick-fix solutions are only aimed at hiding the reality that cannot be covered under slogans such as “Shining India” or, in the case of British Columbia, the “Best Place on Earth” motto often used to promote a false image of the province.

      If there is a need for a crackdown, it must be aimed at those who have accumulated too much wealth rather than those who cannot even earn a decent living due to lack of opportunities, not to mention social conditions that landed them in penury.

      Real development is not confined to protecting the interests of the corporates, but to embrace the weakest segment of the society, which unfortunately remain ignored.

      This explains why more social housing is needed in addition to sustainable jobs. But as the free-market enterprise continues to grow, a more heartless system of governance with the single objective of making profits is taking over, only making matters worse.

      Gurpreet Singh is cofounder of Radical Desi magazine. He's also the author of Why Mewa Singh Killed William Hopkinson: Revisiting the Murder of a Canadian Immigration Inspector and Fighting Hatred With Love: Voices of the Air India Victims' Families. Both were published by Chetna Parkashan.