Imphal: The recent attack on the women vendors at Manipur’s iconic Ima Keithel makes us ask one crucial question: Are we living in a dystopian world?
More than 3,000 women vendors who joined the ongoing mass agitation at the all-women’s market in the capital city of Imphal were asked to vacate the protest site by evening. When they refused, police resorted to tear gas shells and mock bombs that resulted in six women vendors getting injured.
They are now undergoing treatment at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences.
A peaceful sit-in protest by the ‘mothers’ of Manipur at Asia’s largest all-women market turned ugly only because the protestors did not budge to move. This is nothing but living in a society that imposes a harmful, oppressive and miserable existence on almost all of its members.
So, what is their crime that made the police take such a drastic measure?
Their crime was that they refused to return home. The protestors planned on staying in the market complex until the day when the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill will be passed by the Rajya Sabha.
That the women of Manipur have always been powerful influencers in the state is nothing new. They have always taken an active political stand. This time, they took to the streets to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
They have been asking the Biren Singh-led government to clear the air on the controversial Bill that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India.
Earlier, on Saturday, the women vendors shut shops and joined protests at the 500-year-old Ima Keithel, also known as Khawairamband Bazaar, as part of the agitation initiated by Manipur People against Citizenship Amendment Bill or MANPAC.
Despite the standoff with the police, the women vendors have maintained that they will continue their peaceful agitation until the contentious legislation is withdrawn from Parliament.