Bihari vendor driven away from Ima Keithel market after he was found to have secretly married Manipuri widow

Women vendors in the city on Thursday drove away all male vendors from the markets after they found a wholesale greengrocer from Bihar had “secretly married” a Manipuri widow recently.

The greengrocer, Rajesh Shah, and his wife were paraded before journalists in the press club on Wednesday. Shah has admitted to having had relationships with several women.

It has long been the practice for Manipuri women vendors to prevent non-local vendors — who are often shooed away — from making an entry into the ‘Ima Keithel’ markets, which are run exclusively by Manipuri women. However, the rogue vendors often return once the dust settles.

Speaking to journalists, the women vendors said no male would be allowed to operate in their markets from Thursday. They said Shah would be forced to leave the State as early as possible and that those women whom Shah had consorted with would not be allowed to sell anything in the markets. One woman vendor said the presence of male vendors spoilt the character of the historic market and caused disturbances. Some non-Manipuri vendors became too friendly with young women vendors.

Another shopkeeper from Bihar has also been in the news for allegedly having driven his Manipuri wife out of his house.

The Ima Keithel markets have also been a space for women to hold meetings on public issues. It was the launching pad for two “women’s wars” against the British-Indian government against its exporting of locally produced rice.

  • Rajesh Shah must leave State, his consorts will not be allowed ply trade: Ima Keithel vendors

  • The Ima Keithel markets are exclusive market space for local women vendors