The son of a science school teacher, who died of COVID-19, performs final rituals prior to lighting his father's funeral pyre. (Source of image: The Hindu) The Primary Teachers Association in Uttar Pradesh claimed that 1,621 people died because of Covid-19, while they were on duty during the state panchayat elections. These people comprised teachers, instructors, shiksha mitras, and employees from 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh. To which, the state government responded that only 3 teachers died during panchayat election duty. During the second wave of the pandemic, the state government held panchayat elections to which the Teacher’s Union raised questions and argued that they could have postponed the election keeping in mind that the number of infected people increased. However, the Basic Education Council of the state government clarified that the election period covers the time between when an individual leaves for electoral work, undergoes training and gets back home after the election duty. Hence, only three teachers died during this period from Covid-19 while on poll duty. Dinesh Chandra Sharma, the President of UP Primary Teachers Employees Union claimed that 706 teachers had succumbed to coronavirus by the third round of panchayat polls, and by the time counting of votes was done, the death toll climbed to over 1,600. But as the government has accepted only three deaths, a compensation of Rs 30 lakh will be provided to the families of the three deceased. On May 16, a list of eight demands was sent by the union to the Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, that included: financial help of Rs 1 crore to the families of the deceased, and employment for the families of teachers and support staff who died while on poll duty.