Pooja Devi is haunted by an image – her husband, Gyan Prakash Bharti, lying facedown on the floor, a glass of tea spilled next to him.
Bharti, a schoolteacher, had been assigned election work in Uttar Pradesh's panchayat elections a year ago, in the midst of the raging second wave of Covid-19. He had sent his family away from where he was posted, back to their hometown, thinking they would be safer there.
On the morning of May 4, a few days after he finished vote-counting duties, he called his wife to tell her he was feeling unwell. By noon that day, he had stopped answering his phone.
Bharti was one of 1,621 schoolteachers in Uttar Pradesh who died last year, after carrying out election work.
For Common Ground, Johanna Deeksha travelled to the state to meet some of their families, who are still struggling to comprehend their loss. And though the state government has announced compensation and jobs for family members, these measures are entangled in rules that have kept them out of reach for many families. You can read the story here.
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