Investigation by «Xabar.uz»: Who is to blame for the death of a 23-year-old teacher?
The Governors Promised!
The promise of the governor of the Namangan Region, Khayrullo Bozorov:
“We have been using teachers and doctors not only in tree-planting and cleaning work but in agricultural work as well. These two sectors [education and medical sectors] are the most important and reliable sectors. All governors are present here. From now on, involving teachers and medical staff in such activities will be banned! We will no longer use them in such activities!“
The promise of the governor of the Fergana Region, Shuhrat Ganiev:
“Using teachers and medical staff in other activities is an obstacle to development. We have issued an order to the heads of district administrations that teachers and medical staff will do only their job and will no longer be involved in other types of activities.“
The promise of the governor of the Andijan Region, Shuhratbek Abdurahmonov:
“Forcing teachers and medical staff to do other work is a crime! If any head of district administration involves teachers and medical staff in other activities, I will personally imprison them!”
The governors of Surkhondaryo, Bukhara and other regions also made the same promise. However, were there any regions where teachers and medical staff were not taken to fields to pick cotton?
Teachers from the Fergana Valley were literally “loaded”, onto trains and taken to Karakalpakstan, where even their ancestors had never been, to pick cotton.
Forced labor which is not recognized by MPs
At a meeting shown on TV with members of the Senate of Uzbekistan’s parliament, the deputy chairman of the committee of the Senate for agricultural and water issues made the following statement: “Meetings were held with MPs in different parts of the country and not a single teacher complained that they were forced to clean the streets. During meetings with us, they did not utter a word about forced labor. This was not observed”.
At the same meeting, journalist Barchinoy Joraeva addressed a question to the speaker of the Senate, Svetlana Ortikova :
“Not only teachers and medical staff, but kindergarten staff are also cleaning the streets. We can see it for ourselves. What do you say about this?” The answer was: “Who you think should clean the area where we live, if not ourselves?”
After that meeting, I saw many teachers and medical staff sweeping the streets, but I have never seen MPs who loved their motherland so much that they wanted to clean it themselves.
Why tell a lie?
It is not a secret to anyone that as soon as there is a rumor of a visit by the president to a certain region, all the teachers of that region are taken to the streets to sweep, wash and clean them.
Does the head of state not know that only the road he passes through is perfectly clean? He knows this very well.
When Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited the Urgut District of the Samarkand Region, he said openly: “I know very well that you have fixed this road without sleeping all night just for the president’s arrival. You can deceive others, but not me. Do not tell me lies, just work honestly.”
People could tolerate cleaning, sweeping the streets and painting fences, but now the governors have invented new ways of promoting themselves: they are setting up artificial green-houses and vineyards along the roads through which the president passes. Everyone knows well that nothing grows in them and that they will be removed as soon as the president passes through the area. However, the officials hope that the head of state will believe this, otherwise, they would not have done this “risking their lives”.
The death of a 23-year-old female teacher
She didn’t simply die. She was run over by a Kamaz lorry. A handicraft teacher at school No 42 in Kattakurgan District, 23-year-old Diana Enekeeva (or Inikova, according to first reports) was a victim of forced labor, although some may say it was voluntary.
“We were taken to the Samarkand-Bukhara highway”, says one of the teachers who went to clean the streets together with Diana” («Xabar.uz» has the names and audio-recording of those who spoke to us). “A representative of the education directorate who arrived in a black ‘Lacetti’ car allocated a separate area for us to clean. I told him: ‘This is a big highway and heavy lorries move at high speed. As people are working here, shouldn’t there be special signs to reduce the speed or signs indicating that reconstruction work is underway, or shouldn’t there be traffic police nearby?’ He just said ‘Look, traffic police are sitting in their cars over there, they will take care of you’, and simply left. Those traffic police officers sitting in their cars did not even bother to approach us. They did not put up any traffic signs. They did not even provide any of us with a single flag [to control the traffic]. As a result, this tragedy happened. We were painting the trees along the road, others were sweeping it. Diana and others were painting the barrier. A Kamaz lorry traveling at high speed just smashed into Diana…”
“I was with Diana”, says another teacher who was taken to clean the streets in connection with the arrival of the president. “We were painting the trees. When someone called Diana, I saw that a lorry had hit her. We managed to stop a Damas mini-van and took her to the emergency centre in the town. I touched her vein in her neck, her heart was beating. Unfortunately, she died in hospital. We, the colleagues and schoolchildren, will never forget Diana. She loved all the children and was dedicated to her profession.”
The deputy principal of the school, Dilrabo Erkaeva, tried her best not to answer my questions. She could say good words about her only after I asked her: “Could you at least tell us what kind of teacher Diana was?” She replied:
“She loved her profession and used to spend almost all her time at the school. She loved her pupils. She used to teach her pupils to build different things and take them to competitions. Her pupils won awards in district competitions on many occasions.”
“Did she have classes on 14 March?”, I asked her.
“Yes, she had four classes on that day”, says Dilrabo Erkaeva. “However, she couldn’t make it…”
Yes, it is true that Diana will no longer be able to hold her classes.
“Why did you allow them to miss their classes and go to clean the streets?”
“Is it only us? All teachers from all schools do this work. Don’t you know this or don’t you see it?” says Dilrabo Erkaeva.
She was right. The interesting point is that even after one of the teachers was killed by a lorry, the work on the highway was not suspended. The teachers were forced to clean the streets on 15 March as well. I saw it for myself. Of course, traffic police were “guarding” the teachers working in the streets the next day.
After all these conversations, I’m traveling today to Kattakurgan District. Teachers are working on both sides of the highway. I made a stop and talked to teachers from school No103 of Pastdargom District. They had all been warned beforehand:
“No one forced us. We have come here to clean the streets of our own will”, says one of the female teachers.
I thought that heads of administrations and education directorates were not afraid of anything and went to the Directorate of the Kattakurgan District department of education. The head of the department, Alisher Jumanazarov, was not in his office today. I was told that he was ill. He did not answer any of our calls to his two phone numbers.
“It is useless. The head of our department is not responding to any phone calls”, says one of the staff of the education directorate. “It is not easy for him, either. His blood pressure is high.”
Of course, the head of the education directorate will be answering questions at the relevant agency for failing to protect his staff. It is at least clear that he will answer for that on Doomsday when Diana emerges in front of him. For now, it seems that he is indeed ill.
The final words the head of the education directorate said to the media were the following:
“No one was forcefully taken to the streets to clean them.”
Does this mean that “I took them to clean the streets myself” or “School principals ordered them to” or “the teachers themselves did it voluntarily”? I don’t know.
What can the school principal do when the head of the education directorate falls ill? The principal of the school, Nargiza Boltaeva, who appeared in the school after we waited for her for a long time, also said that her blood pressure was high and that she just received her intravenous therapy.
“I myself was in Tashkent receiving medical treatment. I returned back as soon as I heard about the tragedy”, says the school principal. “My deputy went to a meeting at the education directorate and, based on an order, took the teachers to clean the streets. You could ask our leaders about the rest. Diana was a hard-working teacher. She loved her job and pupils very much. I’m really sorry about what has happened to her…”
Why do you look so sad, my baby?
I went to Diana’s house. Her parents are grief-stricken for their daughter.
“I think now I understand why my daughter always rushed”, says her father, Aleksandr Marsovich Enekeev. “Do you believe that she went to school at the age of five. She finished school with excellent marks. As she loved children, she decided to become a teacher. She entered the pedagogical college in Kattakurgan. She graduated with excellent marks there as well. Despite the fact that she was brought up in a Russian environment at home, she studied in Uzbek both at school and college. She knew Uzbek very well. She fell in love with her schoolmate Egor and got married early too. Many of her 23-year-old friends are still not married, but she already had a baby. She worked at the school for six years. Now I know that she always rushed to manage to do more things…”
“I’m not making any claims against anyone”, says her mother, Oksana Anatolevna Enekeeva. “I have received money which her colleagues have brought to me sincerely, but I refused to accept three million soms [just over 350 US dollars] offered by the education directorate. These millions will not return our only daughter to us. My son-in-law has become like my own son. His father brought him from Turkmenistan when he was a baby. First, his father died, then his mother passed away, and he was left on his own in this world. He and my daughter loved each other very much. This is why we agreed to their marriage. Here is my son-in-law, who grew up as an orphan, who had no relatives apart from his wife, who is again left alone with my grandchild, who also has become an orphan. I thank the president for giving a temporary residence permit to my son-in-law. I hope that the president will give him Uzbek citizenship and take care of my grandchild as well. I’m sure about this.”
“I did not have anyone else apart from Diana. We were two in one”, says Diana’s husband Еgor. “Now I have lost my other” half, and I feel that I’m a person with only one arm and one leg.”
His mother-in-law says that Egor has not eaten for two days now and has lost weight.
A girl helping the grieving mother in the family caught my attention. I found out that Durdona Hikmatzoda was Diana’s friend. As soon as she heard about the tragedy, she went to the hospital and stayed with Diana’s mother the whole time.
“We were best friends. We attended sewing workshops together. We never broke up, even for a moment”, says Durdona. “She rang me a little before the tragedy. ‘We are on a highway. It is very windy and noisy here. I will ring you after we finish our job and then we will visit our teacher Oksana together’, she told me. After half an hour, I heard this bad news. She was a very caring girl and ready to help anyone…”
I saw Diana’s son as well. I played with him, but could not make him smile.
“We have not talked about what has happened to his mother in front of the child yet”, says Diana’s aunt Ira. “However, Danila, who was always cheerful in the past, now only cries and asks about his mother. His eyes became sad. The shocking thing is that he always looks at the picture of his mother and says ‘Мommy, Kamaz’…”
To Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan
Respected Shavkat Miromonovich [ed. – the President Mirziyoyev’s father’s name]! Your energy and enthusiasm is worthy of praise. You are visiting regions of our country, traveling to neighboring countries and concluding agreements for our people and country. We welcome all this. However, please do not announce your trip in advance. Your trips to regions of the country are exerting pressure on poor teachers. They have to clean, wash and paint the streets, abandoning their classes for 10-15 days prior to your visit and until you leave.
I know that you don’t want window-dressing. I also know that you don’t want to see streets which are cleaned and washed just for the date of your arrival.
I know that you don’t need fake green-houses and vineyards along the highways, which reasonable people are not in favor of.
I know that you don’t need trees which stay green and flowers which stay colorful only during your trip.
I also know that you don’t need king-size field camps with comfortable, soft chairs, which are beautifully built and decorated when farmers are afraid of your visit.
You know the true state of affairs very well.
When you arrive in Kattakurgan, you will be shown a lot of shining streets, shining houses, shining schools and… shining people. That’s fine, see them all. However, do not forget to visit an unattractive house in front of school No 42, where parents live who strongly believe you, who lost their only daughter, killed by a cargo lorry and say a few words of sympathy to them.
Take the son of a teacher who sacrificed her life for your arrival. Look into his sad eyes and caress him.
Tell him: «May other children’s eyes not be sad like yours. May other teachers’ children not be orphans like you.»
MPs who do not recognize the existence of the coercive recruitment of teachers to carry out different types of work will not adopt a law protecting the teachers anyway. Please adopt a decree.
Declare this decree when you arrive in Kattakurgan!
Tell them: «Let teachers do their main job, not other work!»
Tell them: «Let the medical staff do their main job, not other work!».
Tell them: «I myself will punish those who force teachers and medical staff do other jobs!»
You can do this!
I believe you!
The original article was published at https://www.xabar.uz/jamiyat/xabaruz-surishtiruvi-23-yoshli-oqituvchining-olimida-kim-aybdor (in Uzbek)