IMPHAL: Scores of women vendors at Imphal’s Khwairamband Keithel, held a sit-in protest criticising the government’s “inaction” to restore peace in the state.
They called on the Biren Singh-led administration to step down if it couldn’t bring about normalcy in the strife-torn state.
The demonstration, organised by the Khwairamband Keithel Joint Coordinating Committee, unfolded at Ima Keithel, also known as the only all-women-run market in the world.
Temporarily halting their daily business activities, a substantial number of vendors united in a collective call for immediate action to restore normalcy.
As part of their demonstration, the vendors passionately chanted slogans such as “Restore normalcy in Manipur”, “Root out narco-terrorists from Manipur”, and “Find out the missing students”, underscoring their determination for swift and effective measures to bring peace to the troubled state.
Addressing the press at the protest site, L Mema Devi, the convener of the committee, voiced strong criticism against the government’s apparent inability to quell the violence that has persisted for more than half a year.
She characterised the government’s inertia as a display of weakness, stressed that the prolonged unrest had stretched the patience of the entire populace.
Devi questioned the effectiveness of a government, suggesting that it might be more prudent for the government to resign.
Expressing dismay over the Centre’s lack of intervention despite “the involvement of militants from across the border”, Devi called for a strategic response from the deployed Central security forces.
“Why deploy a large number of Central security forces if violence persists? Why not act against the foreign elements causing unrest?” she was quoted as saying by the local press.
Devi also expressed distress over the state government’s failure to locate four missing students, highlighting that the disappearance of Phijam Hemanjit (20) and Hijam Linthoingambi (17) remained unsolved, while two more students went missing in Kangpokpi district.
The committee also cautioned that the government’s inability to resolve these cases promptly could lead to further unrest among the womenfolk.