Phase Pardhi

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Phase Pardhi or Phasse Pardhi are a tribe in India. The tribe often faces harassment by Indian law enforcement agencies. The tribe is found mostly in Maharashtra and parts of Madhya Pradesh. The Phasse are a sub tribe of the Pardhi caste, which includes sub-castes like Gav-Paradhi, Berad-Paradhi, Gay-Paradhi, Chita-Paradhi. The Passe number 60,000, with 10,000 child beggars and only 3,000 literates in Mumbai alone. Pardhi is the term for "hunter". There are only three surnames among them, Chauhan, Pawar and Solanke


The criminal branding of the tribe goes back to 1871 after the British passed the "Criminal Tribes Act". About a hundred and fifty tribes were branded as criminal, and the police were given sweeping powers to arrest them and watch over their movements.

T. V. Stephens, a British officer at that time quoted:<blockquote>"... people from time immemorial have been pursuing the caste system defined job-positions: weaving, carpentry and such were hereditary jobs. So there must have been hereditary criminals also who pursued their forefathers’ profession."</blockquote>

Volume XII of the 1880 Bombay Presidency Gazette has further comments about the group stating:

<blockquote>"They are still fond of hunting and poaching and have not got rid of their turn for thieving.... The Phase Pardhi is nearly always ragged and dirty, walking with a sneaking...
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