UP suspends 7 school teachers for social media posts critical of Pulwama, Govt

Shyamlal Yadav
Also suspended is a Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA), a Group-A education service officer. (Illustration by C R Sasikumar)

From questioning the Pulwama terror attack to praising Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, from criticising the effectiveness of the Balakot strike to making "political" statements against the ruling establishment - at least seven state government school teachers have been suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government for posts like these on their Facebook page or WhatsApp groups,

Also suspended is a Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA), a Group-A education service officer. While two suspensions were for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct after polls were announced on March 10, the government has also ordered an FIR against a private school teacher.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Prabhat Kumar, UP Additional Chief Secretary (Basic Education), said a proper inquiry was conducted before the BSA was suspended. "I have no information about (the) teachers (suspended). BSAs of respective districts must have done this," he said.

Those facing action:

Dinesh Yadav, BSA, Muzaffarnagar

Suspended by Special Secretary Anand Kumar Singh on February 21.

Allegation: On February 19, on a WhatsApp group of the Provincial Education Service, Yadav criticised "those preaching on WhatsApp" and questioned the Pulwama attack, suggesting there was a conspiracy behind it.

Suspension order: His comments amount to violation of his official responsibilities

Yadav said: "I was chatting with a friend in the group and I did not violate any service rules. I have submitted my response to my authorities."

Surendra Kumar, primary school Headmaster, Barabanki

Suspended by Barabanki BSA, V P Singh on February 27

Allegation: In a post on a WhatsApp group of teachers about the Pulwama attack, he also questioned the attack "as a common citizen."

Suspension order: He violated service rules.

Surendra Kumar said: "I will reply to the authorities. The suspension is wrong."

Amrendra Kumar, primary school assistant teacher, Sultanpur

Suspended by: Sultanpur BSA, Kaustubh Kumar Singh on March 2

Allegation: Kumar wrote on a WhatsApp group of teachers: "Salute to Imran Khan, messiah of peace."

Suspension order: Clear violation of service rules.

Amrendra Kumar said: "I have received the chargesheet. I did not violate any rules. I am preparing my response to the inquiry officer."

Ravindra Kanojia, primary school assistant teacher, Rae Bareli

Suspended by Rae Bareli BSA, P N Singh on March 6

Allegation: He shared a post on Facebook that questioned the nature of "victory," after Balakot citing the shooting down of an IAF plane and the capture of a pilot.

Suspension order: "Has made objectionable comments against the government and recent Army action. This can create tension in society."

Kanojia said: "I had not written anything myself but somebody else might have shared another post from my mobile. I am yet to receive the suspension order. The allegations are wrong. I am a true patriot and contributed through Paytm on February 17 for the welfare of families of martyred soldiers."

Ravi Shankar Yadav, primary school Headmaster, Mirzapur

Suspended by: Mirzapur BSA Praveen Tiwari on February 22

Allegation: Making derogatory remarks against President Ram Nath Kovind.

Suspension order: Violated service rules

Ravi Shankar said: "I did not make any such comment. I have submitted my reply to my authorities."

Nandji Yadav, primary school assistant teacher, Azamgarh

Suspended by: BSA Azamgarh, Devendra Pande on February 22

Allegation: He has made "objectionable comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath" repeatedly.

Suspension order: He violated service rules.

Nandji Yadav said: "I have got the chargesheet. I will submit my reply to my inquiry officer. I have not done anything wrong."

Satya Prakash Verma, primary school assistant teacher, Shravasti

Show-cause issued by: BSA Shravasti, Onkar Rana

Allegation: After his salary was released after a gap of six months, he wrote, "Koi bahut badi teer nahi maar diya (It was not a big deal)."

Notice: Why shouldn't legal action be taken against him under the IT Act.

Verma said: "I was under pressure since I did not get my salary for six months. I have replied to the notice and am waiting for their decision."

Nirankar Shukla, primary School Headmaster, Rae Bareli

Suspended by: Rae Bareli BSA, P N Singh on March 16

Allegation: For writing Facebook posts on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Suspension order: Violation of the Model Code of Conduct

Nirankar said: "I am yet to receive any suspension order. When I heard about my suspension through unofficial channels, I met the BSA. He told me I am suspended. My version was not taken before taking action."

Rajesh Shukla, primary school assistant teacher, Rae Bareli

Suspended by: Rae Bareli BSA, P N Singh on March 16

Allegation: On Facebook, he wrote remarks critical of the Prime Minister referring to the exit of the RBI governor and the pressures on LIC.

Suspension Order: District Magistrate Neha Sharma issued a statement that he was suspended for "political comments" on social media during the Model Code of Conduct.

Rajesh Shukla said: "There are several comments from several employees in favour of the ruling party, but no such action was ever taken. I did not make any comment against the government. I will respond to all allegations when I receive the chargesheet."

Dileep Singh Yadav, teaches without salary in a private Inter College, Shahjahanpur

FIR ordered by SDM, Kalan, Shahjahanpur Ashok Kumar on March 23

Allegation: According to the SDM order, Yadav on Facebook made "objectionable comments based on communal, caste, political and religious lines against respectable animals and politicians".

FIR Order says: SDM has directed police to file an FIR against the teacher

Dileep said: "I have not made any objectionable comments against anybody. I only commented as an Indian citizen because we have freedom of expression. All allegations are wrong."