A grateful Bobby Khare promises he will “never repeat the mistake” again. The 40-year-old sanitation worker from Mathura struggles for words to say more, overwhelmed at the events of the past four days – from being sacked on Saturday after photographs surfaced of him pulling a garbage cart with photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, to an outpouring of support, to his reinstatement letter on Tuesday morning.
Officials said he will resume his duties soon.
The sole breadwinner of his family, Bobby has four children – three of them girls. He also supports the family of his deceased brother, he says.
While the salary is not much, it was the best an illiterate Bobby could hope for, growing up in the Valmiki Basti of Mathura. A sanitation worker for the past two decades (he doesn’t recall exactly for how long), Bobby generally works in two shifts – 6 am to 10 am, and 3 pm to 6 pm – earning roughly Rs 20,000 a month.
Recalling how the image of his garbage cart with Modi and Adityanath’s photos landed up on social media, Bobby said: “On Saturday, while I was at work, three men approached me near Subhash Inter College and asked why the photographs were there in my cart. I explained to the men that I was just doing my job.”
He pointed out that he had just picked up the posters which were already lying at the garbage collection spot.
After he finished his morning shift, Bobby said, he was summoned to the civic body office to explain what had happened and given a show-cause notice. He replied the same day.
The Nagar Nigam Mathura-Vrindavan said it had taken cognizance of the video which went viral on social media Saturday featuring Bobby with the garbage cart and photographs of Modi and Adityanath. Dr Karim Akhtar Qureshi, the Nagar Swasthya Adhikari, said Bobby apologised for what had happened to the Municipal Commissioner, following which he was reinstated.
Qureshi told The Indian Express: “Bobby filed a representation where he apologised for his actions and assured he won’t make the mistake again and will continue to work with sincerity and honesty. He also stated that he was the sole breadwinner of his family. Based on this, he was reinstated.”
Mahesh Kaju, Mahamantri, Uttar Pradesh Safai Mazdoor Sangh, Mathura, said they had never heard of a similar incident in Mathura before.
About what he told the Nagar Nigam, Bobby says: “I said I had been only doing my job, which was to collect the garbage from Ward-19. I submitted my representation before the commissioner Monday, stating that my actions were not ill-intentioned and apologising for the same. The day I was terminated from service was a Saturday. As Sunday was a holiday, I could file my representation only Monday.”