The secondary grade teacher was allegedly upset with her transfer to a school in a faraway village – a result of the newly formulated zonal system through GO 317 for allocating government posts.

Saraswathi, Telangana govt teacher who died by suicide allegedly due to GO 317B Saraswathi
Delve Controversy Monday, January 10, 2022 - 17:49

35-year-old B Saraswathi, a government school teacher and resident of Babapur village in Bheemgal mandal of Telangana’s Nizamabad district, allegedly took her own life on January 9, Sunday. The secondary grade teacher was allegedly upset with her transfer to a school in a village in Kamareddy district from Rahathnagar in Nizamabad district where she was teaching earlier – a result of the newly formulated zonal system through Government Order (GO) 317 for allocating government posts. Saraswathi was transferred to Marklakunta village last month.

Speaking to TNM, Bheemgal Sub-Inspector Prabhakar said, “The family members have said in their complaint that Saraswathi had been upset about being transferred to Kamareddy district. She took the extreme decision only because of the transfer, they say.” Based on the complaint, police have registered a case under section 174 (police to enquire and report on suicide) of Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to her colleagues, Saraswathi had made appeals to the officials against her transfer to Kamareddy district, which is about 60 km away. She was reportedly posted in a single-teacher school after the transfer, which would mar her chances of getting time off. However, her appeal to retain her post in Rahathnagar was rejected. Following this, she submitted her joining report in Marklakunta.

But still disappointed about the relocation, she died by suicide, the family alleges. Saraswathi is survived by two children and her husband, who is working in Qatar.

What is GO 317?

GO 317 was introduced on December 6, 2021. Pertaining to Telangana Public Employment, the GO introduced a zonal system in allocating jobs. The new system was necessitated as Telangana was reorganised into 31 districts from the existing 10 in 2016.

As per the GO, the District Collector and the concerned Head of the Department in that district are part of the allotment committee deciding on jobs and transfers for the district cadre posts. For zonal and multizonal posts, the decision rests with the Principal Secretary, Special Chief Secretary, Head of the Department, and Senior Consultant to the government.

Several teachers’ associations have been protesting against the GO, alleging that the government introduced the new system arbitrarily, without consulting them. They claim that the government is acting irrationally by ignoring the nativity of the employees and transferring them to different districts. They allege that there are discrepancies in the allocation list.

Meanwhile, Saraswathi’s death has sparked political unrest. Tension prevailed in Babapur on Monday, January 10, as police fortified the village following the BJP’s call for ‘Chalo Babapur’ programme. Several leaders were detained by the police. The BJP has been fighting against the government, demanding that the controversial GO be repealed. Recently, BJP Telangana State President and MP of Karimnagar, Bandi Sanjay, was arrested by the police for holding a dharna opposing the GO in his office in Karimnagar violating the COVID-19 regulations. Following this, several national BJP leaders like JP Nadda, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Assam CM Himanta Biswas have visited Telangana in protest against what they have termed a “dictatorial” rule of Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao.

Responding to the death, Telangana Congress chief Revanth Reddy said, “KCR’s cruel political strategy through GO 317 has turned out to be death warrants for the employees. The death of Saraswathi is a testimony to this.”

Congress leader Jeevan Reddy who tried to visit the deceased's family on Monday, was also reportedly detained by the police.

Along with teachers, Adivasis in the state are also protesting the zonal system. The community  are anxious  that the government’s move will affect the prospects of employment of people from Scheduled Tribes and deter the growth of the community.

The Adivasi community leaders point out that the new GO does not have a clause giving preference to local candidates in job allocation, while GO 124 issued in 2018 had mentioned that  95% of the posts which were to be filled by direct recruitment should be reserved in favour of local candidates in relation to each of the local areas based on the population of the region.

Read: Explained: What is GO-317, and why Telangana govt employees are opposing it

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