Uttar Pradesh Panchayat elections are over. The election happened in four phases from 15th April to 29th April. More than 700 teachers died. The reason behind these deaths was not violence. Rather, it was because of non-compliance with Covid19 protocols. These teachers were doing their duty in the election after which they tested positive for  Covid-19 and many died. Currently, there are many teachers who are fighting for their life.

One of many was Susheel Yadav who was ‘Shikshamitra’ in a primary school. He died of Covid-19. His family members stated that, “He and his colleagues knew from before that they will have to work for the elections. They didn’t want to go for the training because there was a lot of crowd but the Government pressurized them to go for it. After coming from duty he showed symptoms of Corona. Between 25th-26th April, around midnight his health got worse. Then we took him to the hospital. There were two hospitals in the district- Hind and Mayo for Covid-19 treatment. In both the hospitals, there was no oxygen or ventilators. No doctors were there to check the patients.” ‘I told the doctors to at least check what his situation was. But they refused to have a look.’ (brother of the deceased replied) His health was deteriorating minute by minute. Over there we just checked his oxygen level with an oximeter. And it was down to 42-43.Then we asked around and somehow got a place in Aastha Hospital. Some of my friends in the village work there. They informed that oxygen was available there, we went there and put him on oxygen. We felt that now he will be okay but within one-two hours around 4:30am, his health took a turn and he died.

Another of deceased was Jai Hind Verma who resides in Nurapur, Barabanki district. His family members replied that “Mr Jai Hind had had put an application to remove him from the election duty. His duty was removed but on the day of the election, he got a call that he is not removed from his duty and he needs to report back. He was hospitalized on the 26th. Even after his death the family members recieved a call on his phone to report for duty.”

So this is the environment of today’s India, where elections stands above all even above the lives of people.

When the District Megistrate of Barabanki was asked about the application of Covid Protocols. he replied ‘All the protocols regarding Covid-19 were followed and disconnects call.’

Naman Kumar who resides in Ayodhya district, his brother told, “Our family was doing so well. My brother and his wife were both teachers. I was also a teacher. We weren’t facing any problems. We’re facing so many problems without my brother now. The government, administration, nobody helped us. Nobody has come till now to help us. An FIR was also going to filed against them, if they refuse to perform their duties. Not only this, the election commission were even threatening the teachers that they will file a court case on the teachers.”

According to UP Prathmik Shikshak Sangh, over 700 primary school teachers lost their lives either during training for election duty or at polling or counting centres due to Covid-19. Many teachers were forced to come on duty despite having Covid-19 symptomps. After the teachers’ associations demanded financial assistance for the families of those teachers who died during poll duty, the UP Government finally addressed the issue and Basic Shiksha Adhikaris (BSAs) of all districts to verify the list of deceased teachers.

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