Hundreds of women members of Imphal’s Ema Keithel, or mother’s market, staged a dharna demanding the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to protect the state’s indigenous community. This was the third such protest on the issue in March, with the earlier two being carried out by student organizations in Imphal and at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
Representatives of six valley-based student organizations joined the dharna staged by the women vendors of the market, who are an influential and socially active group when it comes to taking up causes in the interest of the state. The women had previously protested against the citizenship amendment bill passed by Parliament in 2019, which resulted in the extension of the inner line permit (ILP) and the exemption of Manipur from the bill.
The protesters staged the dharna at the Ema market and then headed towards the chief minister’s bungalow in Imphal, displaying placards with slogans such as “Save Manipur From Influx.” However, they were intercepted by security personnel and forced to return to the market. The protest started at 11 am and ended around 1 pm.
The participation of women in such protests highlights their commitment to the welfare of their community and their desire to ensure that their voices are heard. It also underscores the importance of recognizing the role of women in the political and social life of the state. The demand for the implementation of the NRC is not just a political issue, but one that directly affects the lives of the indigenous community in Manipur.