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Row Over Seat Allocation At Laxmi Bazar, No Holds Barred Fisticuffs Among Women

IMPHAL, Dec 13: Women vendors of Laxmi Keithel today engaged in an ugly dogfight over vendor seat allocation forcing police to fire tear gas shells and mock bombs to control the situation.

Seat allocation for shed number 1 to 6 of Laxmi Keithel was done today at about 10 am under supervision of Imphal Municipal Council officials in presence of City Police personnel and Traffic Police.

As the IMC officials started verifying vendor list for shed number 7 for allocation, a large number of slogan shouting women vendors barged into Laxmi Keithel.

They demanded that the seat allocation should be done according to rules and that those not possessing licenses should not be given seats in the new market complex.

Police present at the scene managed to pacify the agitating women and drove them outside the Keithel building

As they continued shouting that their seats should not be allotted to anyone else and that those in possession of cards obtained through underhand means should not allowed in Laxmi Keithel, another group of women started responding in an equally agitated tone.

This resulted in a heated argument where offensive and abusive words bordering on the vulgar were used.

Ultimately, the women vendors exchanged blows and engaged themselves in a nasty dogfight, even to the extent of disrobing one another. One woman vendor called Bino fainted and she was taken to City police station by DSP (Traffic) Victoria Yengkhom where she was allowed to rest until she gained full consciousness.

However, this resulted in another ugly. Some women vendors, on seeing Bino put inside the police vehicle misunderstood that she was being arrest. Guided by this misunderstanding, they even tried to block the police vehicle.

Out of 12 sheds comprising Laxmi Keithel, shed number 7 is reserved for mosquito-net vendors and gamsha (scarf) vendors. But women vendors dealing in the two separate merchandise have been engaged in a tussle of seat allocation since as early as 1957.

These vendors occupied shed number 1 of Laxmi Keithel, now demolished.

Though the prolonged contention was said to have been settled sometime back, a new tussle emerged over such matters like mortgaging vendor license and collection of money with the promise of giving new licenses which has not materialized yet.

Meanwhile IMC officials informed that seat allocation for Purana Bazar was completed on December 11.

Allocation of seats for Laxmi Keithel began today. After this, allocation of seats for New Market would begin.

Women vendors would be allowed to take their new seats after allocation for all the three market complexes is completed, said the IMC officials.

(The Sangai Express)

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