Surviving Evictions in the Times of Rising Land Prices: The Case of Katkari Tribal Group in Western Maharashtra, India
Timeslot:07/28 | 17:50-18:10 UTC+2/CEST
The Katkari tribal group in Maharashtra, India categorized as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), suffer from abject levels of socio-cultural exclusion and economic deprivation. The ownership of cultivable land amongst the Katkari is rare and large-scale landlessness prevails among them during present times. Many Katkari habitats are without a title to the sites on which they are located. The Katkari problem to land title where they are residing is different than the land tenure problems faced by urban slum dwellers. They did not squat in public or private spaces illegally but rather settled where they had been invited to do so by the landlords (often belonging to the dominant caste) and other employers in need of laborers. The Katkari who provided cheap labour, were not given the housing rights normally associated with permanent settlement and membership in a village. Tenure over the land where they built their homes remained in private hands rather than being incorporated into a legal village site. Rising land prices due to economic boom are prompting legal landholders to sell their lands. This has in turn led to attempts to evict Katkari forcibly from land where they lived for generations and has resulted in breaking of patron-client relationship. Based on empirical research with the Katkari in Pune district in western Maharashtra, this paper presents nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by the Katkari threatened with eviction from their habitation land and the coping strategies they have adopted to fight these eviction and/ or to adjust to the new places where they have been forced to shift.