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Schoolteacher suspended in Madhya Pradesh after taking part in Bharat Jodo Yatra

Rajesh Kannoje (48), a tribal rights activist, is accused of attending a political event after taking leave for ‘important work’.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with supporters during the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', in Ujjain district, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (PTI Photo)

A primary schoolteacher in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district was suspended a day after he attended Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The 48-year old teacher identified as Rajesh Kannoje has been in government service since 1997 and is a tribal activist known for working with social organisations such as the Adivasi Ekta Parishad. On November 25, Kannoje joined Gandhi’s Yatra with a bow and arrow decorated in a traditional tribal manner.

Speaking to the media, Kannoje said, “I first saw my suspension notice on social media and then was informed by authorities. I learnt that the action was taken based on a complaint. While it is not possible to find out who made the complaint, I do feel that it is political vendetta.”

Kannoje said that after meeting Gandhi, he had drawn the Congress MP’s attention to the plight of the Adivasis of the BJP-ruled state who he said had to fight for “jal, jungle aur zameen” (water, forests and land).

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As per officials of the tribal welfare department, Kannoje was suspended for violating service conduct rules. He had, according to them, taken leave citing important work but attended a political event.

K K Mishra, chairperson of the Congress’s media department, criticised Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government. “The Chouhan-led government has allowed employees to take part in RSS shakhas but suspended Rajesh Kannoje for gifting tir-kaman to Rahul Gandhi at a non-political march.”

First published on: 03-12-2022 at 22:57 IST
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