Nomadic and Denotified Tribes are one of the most marginalized communities in India. Lack of constitutional safeguards and stigmatization of criminality attached to their identities make them face violence and vulnerabilities in every walk of life. Nomadic nature kept most of them out of Population Census of India. Historical subjugation, coerced stigmatization as well as unethical legal system marginalized them in social, economic and political arena of life.
Recently traditional livelihoods sources of these communities viz. hunting, trapping, using animals for street entertainment etc. are declared illegal. Very few alternatives exist in terms of livelihoods, as the larger community is reluctant to employ them due to the stigmatization. These communities, therefore, live in constant fear of police persecution and violence from the local populace. The majority of them are landless, homeless and illiterate. About 89 percent of the Denotified communities and 98 percent of the Nomadic community’s report that none of the families in the community own any land. Most of the communities live in poor living conditions and are deprived of basic amenities, such as toilets, water, electricity etc.
Nomadism perturbed access to proper health, educational facilities and inclusion in Population Census. Lack of basic citizenship and other documents viz. voting card, ration card, caste certificate, etc excruciated the agonizing situation. As the community members are numerically least and scattered, treatment meted out is of outcaste. The unjust actions by society and the State arising out of the prevailing social prejudices against them violate their human rights. Women and children are the worst hit by this social injustice.
Liberalization, Privatization, Globalization, technological transformation and newer Indian laws snatched away their source of livelihoods and rubbed salt to injury. They have been alienated from land and are forced to migrate by reason of violence and loss of their traditional livelihood means. There is, therefore, an urgent need to work with these communities for ensuring their inclusion into the mainstream and to address the need for a more inclusive policy at the government level to improve the social, economic, and political conditions of these communities.