In Uttar Pradesh, several Teachers' unions came as a congregation on Wednesday, April 28, and presented a list of 577 teachers and support staff who died while doing panchayat poll duty in the state to the Uttar Pradesh State Election Commission (UPSEC).
The Unions have asked the teachers to stay away on the day of counting, i.e., May 2. Dinesh Chandra Sharma, president of UP Shikshak Mahasangh (UPSM) prepared a letter consisting of the names and addresses of all the 577 teachers and Shiksha Mitras.
On Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court had issued a notice to the SEC enquiring the explanation over the Covid preparedness and the alleged deaths. A senior teachers' union leader said, "To be honest, the court's issuance of the notice has not benefited teachers because the next date of hearing, in this case, is May 3, which is a day after counting day. What was needed was the postponement of counting at least, if not the fourth phase of elections on April 29," reported The Times of India.
For the verification of the claimed deaths of the teachers in the district, Special work officer, SEC, S K Singh has sent a letter to all the DMs, SPs, and district electoral officers and demanded a report within 24 hours.
Mr. Sharma stated that they had not received any information with regards to the health of the teachers assigned for election duties from several districts like Fatehpur, Balrampur, Shamli, Aligarh, and Hamirpur. "I am afraid about the numbers. Their families are also affected. The situation is extremely critical," he said.
"We had requested the SEC, after there was a surge in cases on April 12, to postpone the polls but our request was ignored. We may be forced to boycott counting duty," added Sharma.
Around 4,000 government employees in Bijnor have been designated for vote counting but they are grappling with a widespread fear. Senior vice-president of UP Primary Teacher association, Rajendra Singh, said, "Polls have already done the damage. Now counting may wreak more havoc. We are living in fear."The chosen employees are working overtime to get their names removed from the list to no avail. Nevertheless, the officials conducted a training session for the staff on Wednesday.