Militants tonsure women for selling tobacco

Iboyaima Laithangbam

IMPHAL: Three women who were running betel nut and cigarette kiosks were rounded up by militants on Sunday night at Irengban in Imphal West district. They were released after being tonsured and produced before presspersons. They were accused of selling tobacco products and betel leaves banned by a proscribed underground organisation, the Revolutionary People’s Front.

They have been debarred from opening their kiosks for two months.

Women found selling or smuggling such banned items here had been rounded up and punished in this manner earlier also. Their photographs were published along with reports in newspapers.

Militants had even shot dead wholesale and retail traders. Police do not take notice of such parading of business people.

In view of the curbs by militants, betel nuts are being sold at double the normal price. Because of widespread consumption of pan and tobacco products the incidence of mouth and throat cancers in Manipur is one of the highest in the country.