MP: Tribal School Teacher Suspended for Meeting Rahul Gandhi During Bharat Jodo Yatra
Bhopal: A day after a 48-year-old tribal school teacher met with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi during Bharat Jodo Yatra to raise the issues of the tribal community, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Madhya Pradesh government sacked the teacher for “violating service conduct rules”.
Rajesh Kannoje, a teacher at a primary school in Newali Tehsil of Barwani district met with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi on November 24 in Khandwa along with tribal leaders. He also gifted Gandhi a bow and arrow as a token of respect and raised the issues of tribal rights, the Forest Rights Act, the implementation of Schedule 5 and others.
The teacher was suspended on November 25, a day after he took part in the yatra. The issue came to the fore after his suspension order surfaced on social media.
Appointed in 1997, Kannoje was posted at a primary school in a village named Kunjare – located 55 km away from the district headquarters. The school, which falls under the state's Tribal Affairs Department in Kanasya, has a total of 27 tribal students.
Confirming it, NS Raghuvanshi, Assistant Commissioner of the Tribal Affairs Department said, "Kannoje was suspended for violation of service conduct rules and attending a political rally. He had sought leave citing important work, but he posted photographs on social media after attending a political event."
As per the order, Kannoje violated section 5 of Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1965 by attending Bharat Jodo Yatra – a political rally on November 24.
Speaking to NewsClick, suspended tribal teacher Kannoje said, "Apart from being a school teacher since 1997, I have been working as a tribal rights activist for two decades. I often attend the rallies of tribal outfits and try to raise the voice of the oppressed class. But nothing troubled the government until I met Gandhi."
Clarifying his stand he said, "I did not know that meeting with opposition leaders to raise the voice of the community is prohibited in the government services. I did attend the Yatra like a Bharat Yatra but as a representative of an oppressed community whose rights are being taken away."
Reacting over the issue, state Congress media department chairperson K K Mishra in a tweet said that the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has allowed employees to take part in the shakhas of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), but suspended a tribal, Rajesh Kannoje, for gifting 'tir-kaman' (bow and arrow) to Rahul Gandhi “during a non-political march”.
The yatra, which arrived in Madhya Pradesh on November 23, entered Rajasthan on Sunday.
(With PTI inputs)
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