The Katkari are a people based in the Raigad and Thane Districts of Maharashtra, India. Never formally recognized by the state, the Katkari have for years found themselves in abject poverty, living as bonded laborers on their own land.
With no rights or freedoms, they are exploited and forced to work under sub-human conditions on the brick kilns. Sexual exploitation of Katkari women is common while men are often beaten up, and even killed.
Any sort of resistance is met with violence from the police—a fact common to many tribal Peoples in India—thanks no less to the foundation brought on by the 1871 Criminal Tribes Act, which made about 150 tribes into Criminal Tribes.
Despite the abolition of this act after Indian independence, an institutionalized culture of discrimination against these tribal peoples now exists. As a consequence, the Katakari’s plight is largely ignored and they are bypassed by all government and non-government assistance/development programmes.
This 21 minute documentary, put together by the Rainforest Information Centre examines their plight, and appeals to the international community to help.
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.