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, Gai-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". Widely found surnames among them include 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:
"... 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."
Volume XII of the 1880 Bombay Presidency Gazette has further comments about the group stating:
"They are still fond of hunting and poaching and have not got rid of their turn for thieving.... The Phase Pardhi [a sub-tribe] is nearly always ragged and dirty, walking with a sneaking gait."
In 1952, the tribe was denotified as "criminal" and named as a nomadic tribe. However this has not changed the public perception of the tribe, and they continue to be stigmatized and live as outcasts, further aggravating their backwardness and economic hardships.
Despite being exonerated by the Indian government, the community is still perceived to be indulging in criminal activities. The criminal stigma is attached from birth, and by the age of sixteen, his name is usually featured in criminal records as a potential suspect. The police uses the "Habitual Offenders Act (1952)" to harass thecommunity. Public pressure in villages often prevents the nomadic community from settling in village.
- History of Paradhis ambedkar.org.
- Kumar Suresh Singh (2004). People of India: Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. p. 1656. ISBN 978-81-7991-102-0. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- Bania Arrested for Spying by Dilip D'Souza. Rediff.com, January 18, 2003.
- Injustice, go away: Phase Pardhis are one of India's denotified tribes but the authorities and society in general continue to think of them as criminals The Hindu, Sunday, Jun 01, 2003.