Poet and academician P Varavara Rao was discharged from JJ hospital in Mumbai on Monday and shifted back to Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai. The 80 year old, booked in the Elgaar Parishad case, was rushed to hospital on Thursday after he fell unconscious in the jail.
Hospital superintendent Sanjay Surase said that Rao was discharged after he was declared “fit” and that he was admitted due to “giddiness”. This comes a day after the special court directed the hospital to submit a medical report regarding Rao’s health. His interim bail plea filed on medical grounds is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday.
Rao’s family members said that despite writing to the state authorities, they were neither given any information about his condition nor were they allowed to speak with him. In a letter to Maharashtra DGP S K Jaiswal on Sunday, Rao’s wife Hemalatha and three daughters had requested that permission be granted to them to speak to him on video call on humanitarian grounds.
“He is 80 years old with several pre-existing health issues… we are very worried and anxious to know details of his hospitalisation, current ailment and the line of treatment… we would like to request you to allow a video call with him so that we can see him and directly learn the exact health status from him,” the letter said.
His daughter Pavana said they are yet to receive any response on this. “Even when he was admitted to the hospital, we were informed only a day later, and that too not directly. Now, we are only getting information from the media and others. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to travel but we remain pained and anxious about his condition. The Maharashtra government could have at least given us information and permission to speak with him on humanitarian grounds,” she added.
The permission sought by the family to travel to meet him or speak to him on video call remains pending before the court.
Meanwhile, two former central information commissioners, Shailesh Gandhi and M Sridhar Acharyulu, have written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, seeking Rao’s release on bail. The letter stated that Rao’s body had swollen up and he had fallen unconscious, following which he was shifted to JJ hospital. “The very fact that he was taken to JJ hospital suggests that his condition was serious, otherwise he would have continued under the care of Taloja prison’s medical team,” it added.
It further said that there was “lack of evidence” against Rao and that there was no progress in the investigation taken over by the National Investigation Agency earlier this year from the Pune Police.
A statement by People’s Union for Democratic Rights also raised the condition of jails where the accused in the case are lodged. “The health and safety of political prisoners must be treated with the same urgency as that of other prisoners. Amid this unprecedented pandemic, a uniform policy is needed to ensure the survival of inmates,” the statement said.
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