Traditionally a community of street performers, known to bring comic relief to day-to-day life through witty dialogues, vivid costumes and makeup, the Behrupiya community struggles to find its space in the modern era of entertainment. With their main source of livelihood under threat, the nomadic community struggles to eke out an existence in many parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
In Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, nearly 4000 people are not just struggling to make a living but also face entitlement rights violations due to the absence of caste certificates. They are fighting for housing rights under the Indira Awas Yojana, subsidized ration and employment. There are also many cases of children dropping out of school due to the absence caste certificates.
Being a nomadic community, they are unable to produce necessary documents. However, an order of the social justice department ensures that if requisite proof for the caste certificate is unavailable in the last 50 years, caste certificates can be issued on verification by the village council head. In the last six months, community correspondent Krupakar Chahande has appealed to various authorities including the Assistant Development Officer and the District Development Officer for the issuance of caste certificates but to no avail. In August 2015, he conducted two press conferences and met DC & SDM with the community members but that too received no response. Finally, he reached out to Rajkumar Badole, Social Justice Minister, Maharashtra, who has now assured that he will ensure housing, caste certificates and livelihood for the community.