Looted Foreigner forced to beg on Mumbai streets
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Looted Foreigner forced to beg on Mumbai streets

Peter Miguel a French is looted a cab driver thrashed him and took away his bag, reports Debasish Panigrahi.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2007 01:54 IST

"Kya India main bikharion ki kami hai jo yeh firangi yahan pe aagaya (Is there a dearth of beggars in India that this foreigner has come here)?" posed an angry beggar outside the grand building of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on Saturday.

He was referring to a foreigner who has been begging on Mumbai's streets for the last three days.

The man in question is a 31-year-old Peter Miguel clad in a dusty T-shirt and cargo pants, torn at several places, with a dirty towel wrapped around his rucksack.

When this reporter tried to speak to outside Azad Maidan, Miguel said: "I French. Know little English." When given a pen and paper to write, he scribbled: 'Peter Miguel (31), Paris'.

Asked through sign language how he landed here, Miguel replied in broken English that he had arrived in Mumbai on February 1.

He said a cab driver thrashed him and took away his bag - containing his passport, air tickets, mobile phone, Rs 5,000 and some credit cards - when he reached Mumbai from Goa on February 1.

Since then he has been sleeping on the footpath and begging for food. "I saved him from those beggars. You know, they were after his life," said RN Salhi, a lawyer practising in the Esplanade Metropolitan Magistrate's court.

Salhi said Miguel had been begging near the subway for the past three days. Miguel claimed he was beaten up by the police twice in the night for sleeping on the footpath.

Miguel would be produced in the holiday court on Sunday to inform the court about his visa status, which Salhi claims has expired.

He also said he had requested the bar committee at the Esplanade court to allow Miguel to stay in India for a few days.

Salhi contacted the French Consulate at Nariman Point after hearing Miguel's tale. "They (the embassy staff) told me to get him to the Consulate on Monday since they are closed on weekends," Salhi said.

The Azad Maidan police said they had no knowledge of any foreigner begging in the area.

"If the foreigner was robbed of his passport and money, he should have informed the police first. How can he move around like this," said Sub Inspector P. Nikam of Azad Maidan police station.

Email Debasish Panigrahi: debasish.panigrahi@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Feb 04, 2007 01:54 IST