(Eds: Adds fresh inputs) Chennai, Oct 2 (PTI) The DMK on Friday held 'People's Sabha' meetings across Tamil Nadu in place of the customary 'Gram Sabha', cancelled by the state government due to COVID- 19 situation, and resolutions were adopted against three farm legislations of the Centre at the gatherings.
Cases were registered against party chief M K Stalin, women's wing secretary Kanimozhi and others for holding the meetings despite the government barring such events and for violating curbs imposed in view of the coronavirus pandemic, police said.
The state government on Thursday night announced the cancellation of the meetings of the gram sabha, the grass root level democratic institution in each village panchayat, citing the pandemic situation. The meetings are held at least four times in a year on January 26, May 1, August 15 and October 2.
Though the DMK chose to describe the meetings as 'Makkal Sabai Koottam' (Meet of People's Sabha), the banners with 'government emblem', that formed the backdrop of such meetings, in several places announced the gathering as that of 'Gram Sabha.' Presiding over a meeting at a village under the Poonamalle Panchayat Union in nearby Tiruvallur district, Stalin said: 'Resolutions condemning the Centre's three farm legislations and seeking its withdrawal are passed. We are holding this meeting to safeguard agriculture, which is the backbone of villages.' A senior Tiruvallur district police officer told PTI that a case has been registered against about 100 people, including Stalin, for holding the meet and violating COVID-19 curbs, based on a complaint from revenue department officials.
Similar cases had been registered in several others, including Kanimozhi, MP, and Anitha Radhakrishnan, MLA, who took part in the meetings in Tuticorin district, police said.
Questioning the government decision to cancel the Gram Sabha, Stalin said the AIADMK Executive Committee meeting was convened days ago and Chief Minister K Palaniswami had been going on a tour of the state.
'But Gram Sabha meetings must not be held? DMK should not do anything?' he asked.
'The Chief Minister is afraid of the DMK rather than the coronavirus. We are fighting for the people and not for personal problems,' Stalin said.
He alleged the authorities barred the meetings since it was apprehended that resolutions would be passed against the government over the contentious farm legislations.
The meetings were presided over by DMK leaders, party's elected representatives in their respective regions and in Tiruchirappalli, and Dindigul, former Ministers, K N Nehru and I Periyasamy participated respectively.
Near Uthiramerur in Kancheepuram district, DMK workers led by the local party MLA staged a protest demonstration in farm fields against the farm laws.
The party has moved the Supreme Court challenging the three legislations passed in recent Parliament session. PTI VGN VS VS