Hyderabad: A 35-year-old school teacher at mandal parishad primary school, Chamdampet was summoned to poll duty on April 17, died on May 8 after spending 13 days on a ventilator.
G Sandhya, an English teacher resident of the Suryanagar colony in Nalgonda district in Telangana, joined the election duty at Haliya as a polling officer at polling booth number 102 in the Nagarjuna Sagar assembly by-poll.
On April 20, she got a fever and subsequently tested COVID positive. A week later, she was in the ICU of a private hospital in Hyderabad.
G Sandhyarai is survived by husband K Mohan Rao and an eight-year-old daughter.
“On polling day, her job was to verify voter IDs and Aadhaar cards. She contacted more than 350 people at the polling booth,” Mohan Rao said, adding that he suspected his wife to have come in contact with a COVID-19 patient who visited the polling booth.
“World is collapsed for me and my daughter,” he added.
“Not just my wife, I have lost my life. Why were the elections held? Just for one MLA, so many people have died. My family is destroyed. Elections could have happened later after lockdown or after all were vaccinated,” he says.
“My wife did not hesitate to do her duty, she didn’t complain even in her death bed but I am angry. I am angry at the state government for holding the polls. They announced a lockdown after the poll results and made everyone fall sick. I have suffered a huge loss,” an irate Mohan said.
A 56-year-old M Ranjit Singh Mali, a teacher at Upper primary School, Rayani Palem, also attended the election duty on April 17 at Nagarjuna Sagar.
After returning home on April 19, he died of a heart attack. Ranjit Singh’s son Hemantha Mali said, “He had asthma. When he returned from election duty, he had a fever. On April 19, he had a heart attack and died.”
As per media reports, the state united teachers federation claims that more than 15 teachers who took part in poll duty in the recent assembly and corporation elections have died due to complications related to COVID-19.
Union leaders claim that about 500 teachers who participated in the Warangal, Khammam Corporation elections and the Nagarjuna Sagar assembly by-elections have tested COVID positive.
The Telangana High Court has now said in the suo moto plea that it was “criminal negligence” on the part of the state that at least 15 teachers died during polling duty and hundreds of them had a positive experience.