Women street vendors in Manipur condemned the Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) order which limits the vending hours at the temporary Ima Market in Imphal West to six hours, from 6 am to 12 noon and launched a fast-unto death protest at the market place.
Since the issuance of the IMC order, tension has erupted among the vendors vending under the banner of Road Side Vendors Welfare Association (RSVWA); Panthoibi Ima Sana Kithel Nupi Lup; Young Woman Street Vendors Welfare Union; Ima Leisana Street Vendors Welfare Union; Minority Muslim Vendors Welfare Union; Schedule Tribe Women's Vendors Welfare Union and Salai Laret Apunba Nupi Samaj Lup.
Considering the possible outcome of the order, the district magistrate of Imphal West had also imposed 144 CrPC in the whole area of the temporary market as a preventive measure. However, the vendors have been launching various forms of agitations since December 20.
The vendors drew the attention of the state government to immediately revoke the IMC order and let them sell freely to run their families.
Speaking to the media, advisor of RSVWA, Kh Ibeton, who led the fast-unto death protest said the stipulated time of vending given by the IMC is not feasible for the minimum sales to earn their livelihood, especially in this winter session.
She informed that appeals had been made to MAHUD minister to lift the restrictions; however, his silent act has prompted the vendors to take up such agitation.
“We are ready to die as it is better than living without our rights and no ways of livelihood to run our families,” said Ibeton.