Women vendors launch indefinite protest, effigies burnt

IMPHAL, 9th Feb: In the face of growing apprehension of BJP tabling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 in Rajya Sabha on February 12, women vendors of the iconic Khwairamband Keithel have ceased their normal trade activities and started non-stop protest, which will continue till February 12, by staying overnight in Imphal city from Saturday.
On the other hand, protesters under the aegis of six student bodies, namely AMSU, DESAM, KSA, SUK, AIMS and MSF burned effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Rajnath Singh at multiple locations while demanding withdrawal of the Bill.
Women vendors of Khwairamband Keithel started on-road protests in response to the call of MANPAC against CAB since early morning Saturday. Leaders of MANPAC’s constituent CSOs talked at length on the possible impacts of CAB during the protest. Later, the gathering resolved to sustain the non-stop protest in the heart of Imphal city by spending day and night between the two adjacent women’s market complexes.
Large number of state police and CRPF personnel are keeping close vigil in order to prevent unwanted incidents.
One of the women vendors identified as Mangi said that the decision to cease trade activities and conduct protests day and night in the heart of Imphal city was taken unanimously by the women vendors of four market complexes of Khwairamband Keithel. They will continue the protest till February 12 and further decisions will be taken up after the outcome of the Bill in Rajya Sabha. Reacting to the verbal assurance given by chief minister N Biren, who said that the Bill will not affect the state, she demanded the CM to give written assurance if he is sure of the outcome. She also decried the silence of most of the MLAs regarding the Bill.
MANPAC core committee member Jeetendra Ningomba said that the ongoing protest will continue till the end of Rajya Sabha session on February 12. They will intensify the stir if the NDA government uses its power and passes the Bill in Rajya Sabha and any eventualities of the intensified stir will be responsibility of the Centre and state government, he said.
Later, in the evening, a delegation of MANPAC and women vendor leaders reportedly met chief minister N Biren at the latter’s official residence. However, there is no report on what transpired between the two parties during the meeting. Nonetheless, the delegation informed that the protests will continue as planned.
At Ningthoukhong Keithel (market), protesters staged sit-in protest on the road and burnt effigies of Manipur chief minister along with that of the Prime Minister and the Union home minister in denunciation of the Centre’s move to enact the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
A team of Bishnupur district police, including women personnel, rushed in to douse the effigies of the three leaders that were set aflame by the protestors.
During the protest held under the joint aegis of UCOBID, Bishnupur and Ningthoukhong Khunai Apunba Meira Paibi Lup, slogans were raised against the Centre’s indifferent attitude to concerns and plight of indigenous communities of Manipur and north-eastern states.
With the protesters blocking the normally busy Tiddim Line road, private as well as public carriers had to take alternative routes through residential pockets to get to their respective destinations.
At Laphupat Tera, a torch rally was taken out on Saturday evening under the aegis of local organisations in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Students of MS Global Academy, Thoubal Haokha carried out a protest rally against CAB along NH 102 and IV roads. Meira Paibi members and local residents of Wabagai, Hiyanglam, Keirak, Lamjao and Tezpur carried out a torch rally from Hiyanglam Wabagai Lamkhai Keithel to Keirak. Women vendors of Yairipok Keithel and Bamon Leikai Youth Club Yairipok in association with six student bodies also organised a sit-in protest at Yairipok Keithel against CAB.

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