List of Uttar Pradesh school teachers who died on poll duty during the Covid-19 pandemic

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The Uttar Pradesh Shikshak Mahasangh (UP Teachers Federation) and associated organisations sent several letters to the State Election Commission and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath between April 12 and May 16, 2021, on the safety of teachers and staff members polling for panchayat elections during the Covid-19 pandemic. This document contains the letters along with their English translations.

The first was sent on April 12 expressing concern that teachers were being made to gather for training before polling began at a time when there were over a million active Covid-19 cases in the country. Teachers and staff members would be in contact with thousands during polling. The letter emphasised that teachers were fearful and that “…the situation is not conducive for elections and can actually prove disastrous for the life of government employees.” The federation requested for compensation in case any personnel contracted the infection or died from it.

Polling for the 2021 UP panchayat elections continued as scheduled from April 15 to 29. The second letter, sent on April 28, reiterated that elections should not be held at a time when the national infection rate is nearly three lakh new cases at day. The letter reads: “The teachers and staff who have just returned after polling and have been struggling with recent infections are now being posted on duty for counting votes, and training sessions are being conducted amidst terrible chaos and with absolute disregard of the Covid-19 pandemic.” The UP administration was requested to postpone the scheduled day for vote counting from May 2.

The communication dated April 29 said that numerous teachers and staff members of the UP government’s Basic Education Department had died while conducting the panchayat polls. The letter contains the details – names, designations, schools and development blocks – of over 700 deceased teachers hailing from 73 of the state’s 75 districts. “The above list does not include the names of the family members of the teachers, who too have died in large numbers,” it says.

Vote counting for the UP panchayat election continued as planned on May 2.

Addressed to the chief minister, the May 16 letter stated that the list of deceased teachers more than doubled after the election's fourth phase. It puts forth a list of demands for employees of the Basic Education Department who were infected by or died of Covid-19 during polling, as well as for their dependents. This final communication lists the names of the 1621 teachers – 1181 males and 440 females – who passed away after poll duty.

This document also contains a press note dated May 18 by the government of UP's Basic Education Department claiming that only three teachers died on poll duty.

AUTHOR

Uttar Pradesh Shikshak Mahasangh (UP Teachers Federation), Lucknow, and associated organisations; translation by PARI

COPYRIGHT

Uttar Pradesh Shikshak Mahasangh (UP Teachers Federation), Lucknow, and associated organisations; translation by PARI

PUBLICATION DATE

Apr, 2021

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