Women vendors and activists determined about restoration of normality in Manipur

A former Minister recalled the role of women in the successful revocation of forced labour in the State in 1904, and artificial famine due to excessive export of Manipur rice

Updated - June 07, 2023 07:01 pm IST

Published - June 07, 2023 06:31 pm IST - IMPHAL

Photo used for representational purposes only.

Photo used for representational purposes only. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

 On the second day of the cease-work strike launched by women vendors here, not a single shop or kiosk remained open in the valley areas. However, all markets and business establishments in the hills dominated by tribal groups were open. Long-distance buses and trucks were off the road as a precautionary measure.

A few thousands of licensed women vendors including some unlicensed ones had gone on a three-day strike from Tuesday. They are demanding the restoration of normality, deployment of State forces in the trouble-torn places in the State.

Some women were seen selling vegetables and other kitchen items in some residential areas. However, a majority of the families are in short supply of all items.

Sanahanbi, for example, has been selling vegetables and other items in a small township in the Imphal West district. Since no woman is allowed to sell anything in the market, she now sells some items in her house located near the market. Hiring a jeep she had collected the items from another district. She told The Hindu that she fully supported the stand of the women vendors, but was faced with having to feed her five children and invalid husband.

No empty threat, says former Minister

Taking a firm stance, the women vendors have said that further steps would be taken if peace was not restored by Thursday evening. This is no empty threat, according to Dr. Nimaichand Luwang, a former Minister, who recalls: “In 1904, the women had revolted against forced labour. The women had continued their agitation for one week till the Britishers had rescinded the government order. The women again took up arms in 1939 against artificial famine as a result of the untrammelled export of the tasty Manipuri rice. The British officers had ganged up with non-local traders. The intrepid women did not disperse even after paramilitary personnel had bayoneted many of them”.

Eventually the rice export licence was revoked.

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