8 Months Pregnant Teacher Allegedly Forced To Go On Poll Duty In UP, Dies: Report

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Kalyani Agrahari, a 27-year-old assistant teacher was allegedly forced into poll duty for the Panchayat elections being held in Uttar Pradesh. She was one of the 706 teachers from Uttar Pradesh who reportedly died of COVID-19, a few days after the poll duty.

According to reports, the woman was eight months pregnant and had initially refused to go for duty on April 15.

On April 9, Kalyani Agrahari and her husband travelled 30 kilometres from Pataila gram panchayat to Jaunpur Vikas Bhavan to submit an application saying she would not be able to report on election duty.

“I am a primary school teacher posted at Moina Composite School in Khutahan block. I am assigned at the Panchyat Polls and my code number is 24146. Due to my critical pregnancy, I will not be able to come on duty. Therefore, it is my humble request to the district election officer to relieve me from my duty,” her application, accessed by ThePrint, read.

The teacher was then allegedly warned that an FIR would be lodged against her, along with a salary loss if she didn’t go for the duty. Just 15 days later, Kalyani died at a hospital in Jaunpur. According to her family, her death certificate claims that she was COVID-19 positive.

Another teacher named Aparna Mahavar claimed that she had fallen sick while she was on duty. She then alleged that the authorities didn’t allow her to go to the hospital. She then started appealing for help in a video which soon went viral. Soon after, the local police shifted her to a community health centre.

A teacher’s body called Uttar Pradeshiya Prathamik Shikshak Sangh has claimed that over 700 teachers have died due to COVID-19 while they were on poll duty in Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier, the Allahabad High court had issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh State Election Commission (UPSEC) and asked them why they failed to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines during multiple phases of panchayat elections.