Hundreds of agitating women street vendors on Friday surrounded the Imphal City Police Station here and detained the police personnel inside for some time.
Ingocha Singh, the Station House Officer of the police station, however, said that the police team exercised maximum restraint and prevented any untoward incident.
According to Ingocha, they have been asking street vendors, including the women vendors, every day to vacate city roads, adding that the police were doing so under some rules, which he did not elaborate.
Athokpan Sunita, a street vendor, said, “We would like to know the Act which empowers the police to do so.”
Another vendor Tombi Macha said, “We are poor people. We earn some money by selling consumer items. We have to feed our children and send them to schools.”
The women vendors say that every day police come at around 8.00 a.m and ask them to disperse. “We can’t earn enough money to buy rice and vegetables for the families.”
According to them, the current eviction campaign started on July 6.
Tampha, a vendor, said that T Shyamkumar, the Minister in charge of the municipal area, had ordered eviction of the street vendors some months back.
“However, we returned and carried on the business as usual. But now, police come daily and harass and ill-treat us,” she said.
The street vendors have made it clear that they will continue to agitate if the police continue to chase them away.