THE NATIONAL Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday recommended that poet Varavara Rao, named as accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, be provided ‘the best possible treatment in a reputed super speciality private hospital without any further delay’. Earlier this week, the NHRC had issued notices to the chief secretary and director general of prisons calling for a report regarding appropriate medical care required to be provided to prisoners.
The NHRC said that it had received several communications regarding the deteriorating health condition of Rao who was earlier lodged in Taloja central jail and was shifted to state-run JJ Hospital on Monday. After testing positive for Covid on Thursday, he was shifted to St George hospital.
The NHRC said that it had been informed about the treatment meted out to him at the hospital as observed by his family members visiting him on Thursday.
“The health condition of Rao as mentioned in the various communications was already worrisome and now that he has tested positive for Covid-19, danger to his life has grown bigger which is a matter of concern for the commission. It is a question of saving a precious human life leaving apart the legal aspect of the matter,” the NHRC said. It also said that it expected the chief secretary to personally ensure that Rao is shifted to the ‘best possible Covid hospital’.
The NHRC also said that since he is an undertrial prisoner, the expenditure of the medical treatment should be borne by the state being his lawful custodian. It sought for a compliance report to be submitted immediately.
Meanwhile, the bail plea filed by Rao’s lawyers before the Bombay High Court did not come up for hearing due to paucity of time. His lawyer R Satyanarayanan has moved a praecipe for urgent hearing on July 20.
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