Furore at gram sabha meeting at Sakkimangalam3rd October 2023
Villagers protest against revenue officials collecting money for allotment of lands which were intended to be given for free by the government; though the police intervened and held talks, the people refused to disperse following which they were detained
Police had to intervene at a gram sabha meeting at Sakkimangalam in Madurai East Taluk on Monday after the villagers protested against some revenue officials collecting money for allotment of lands which were intended to be given for free by the government.
Marking the 155th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, gram sabhas were held in all the panchayats. At the Sakkimangalam meeting, some of the villagers accused the revenue officials of selling some lands which were meant to be given to the people for free. Though the police intervened and held talks, they refused to disperse following which they were detained.
The meeting which started at around 11 a.m. ended within 20 minutes. Latecomers who had come with petitions were told that the meeting was already over.
There was chaos all around. The villagers alleged that they were not given a chance to raise their demands or voice out their concerns.
A villager, R Gurusamy, said that only a ‘privileged few’ were allowed to speak at the meeting . These people were more interested in promoting themselves. The common people were not given their due and their demands were not even heard. Not one topic relating to education or public health were discussed at the meeting,” he added.
A staff from the Social Welfare Department said that the resolutions were not discussed at the meeting. Rather, the leader and their few associates prepared a draft and sent it directly to the union office. “Only two to three groups dominate the meeting, leaving no space for the government staff or panchayat leader to discuss anything,” the staff added.
A police official said that POCSO Act cases were on a surge in recent times. “In most of the cases, close relatives of the victims are the accused, and these types of issues are not discussed at the meeting” the official added.
Speaking to The Hindu, Sakkimangalam panchayat president K Nagalakshmi, said, “However hard I try, I am not able to bring everyone together for a discussion.” She said there was non-cooperation all around.
Registration and Commercial Taxes Minister P. Moorthy and Collector M.S. Sangeetha participated in a gram sabha meeting held at Iraniyam panchayat and distributed welfare measures to the public, a press release said.
Gram sabha meetings were held in all but one of the 420 panchayats in Madurai district. As the panchayat president of Silarpatti under T. Kallupatti block was not available, the meeting would be held later.