Karnataka: A government institute teacher in Bidar, Karnataka was suspended from service after he questioned Bhagwanth Khuba, the Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, about the lack of fertilisers in the region.
Assistant teacher at the Jeerga (K) village primary school in the Aurad taluk of the Bidar district, has been named as Kushal Patil.
Khuba is the Lok Sabha member that represents the Bidar district.
After Patil and Khuba’s heated argument exchange went viral, the education department last Thursday issued a detention order. On June 17, Patil was issued a caution by the Deputy Director of Public Instruction for “dereliction of duty, irresponsibility and misconduct by intentionally recording the telephonic conversation and making it viral on social media platforms”.
The officer specifically referred to the Deepak Patil Lambori complaint in the preamble of the order, requesting that Patil be penalized for phoning Khuba at midnight on June 15 to dispute over the fertiliser shortage and “defaming” the Union minister by making their phone call public.
The officer referenced news articles and the Block Education Officer’s initial investigation report as information sources.
Khuba is heard telling Patil over the telephone that as a Union Minister, he cannot handle minor issues such as a dearth of fertiliser. The legislator replies that Patil should speak with local officials or MLAs alternatively.
As the debate escalates, Patil challenges the minister to visit the hamlet to solicit votes for the next elections where he assures that things will go nasty.
Speaking to the Indian Express, Patil stated that it was his responsibility to bring the injustice being experienced by the agricultural community to the notice of the people’s representatives.
Patil who is a farmer said that he spends his time at the farm working after his duty school hours, he added, “Our family is dependent on the earnings. The Union Government and Khuba are claiming that there is no dearth of fertilisers. But, the ground reality is that fertilisers are not available in the local market. We are running from pillar to post to get a bag of DAP,”.
“In October 2021, we had to procure fertilisers from Telangana and we went to Maharashtra as well for the same. People there laugh at us asking despite a Union Minister from your state and constituency, farmers from Karnataka go to other states for fertilisers.” He added, claiming that this was not the first time a shortage occurred.
“We have elected him and have every right to question him. We cannot allow this dictatorship. The district unit of the teachers’ association held a meeting on Monday and will decide the next court of action. I will not succumb to any pressures.”, he added, speaking about his reprimand.
Legislator Khuba told Indian Express that fertilizer was not in shortage in the area and argued that Patil called him several times in the same day.
“I attended a district review meeting on June 13 in Kalaburgi and 14 in Bidar. No one raised the issue, then. In fact, Primary Agricultural Cooperative Credit Society members came to my office on June 12 and felicitated me. They also did not raise any issue because there was no issue with fertiliser supply.” Khuba reported.
“He can question me and he has all the rights but in the conversation, he threatened me. And he has released the audio on a public platform where he speaks rudely,” he said.
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