Writer-poet Varavara Rao was shifted to Nanavati hospital early Sunday, following a National Human Right Commission notice to the state government asking it to ensure that adequate health facilities are provided to him.
Officials from St George’s hospital said he was moved at 1 am and remains stable. Rao had tested positive for Covid-19 on July 16 but has developed no symptoms of the infection so far. He suffers from a range of neurological and urology ailments.
The 80-year-old, who has been behind bars since 2018, has been named accused in Elgaar Parishad case. He was lodged in Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai where his health deteriorated and was briefly hospitalised in the prison’s hospital wing. He was shifted to JJ hospital in Mumbai on July 13, where he underwent a series of tests. Following a Covid-19 positive report, he was shifted to St George’s hospital. In JJ hospital ICU, Rao had hit his head when he was trying to pick a glass. Sources said he received a lacerated wound and required two stitches. He suffered from delirium and dizziness. Dean Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar said, “We do not know where the staff was, but he did not suffer serious wounds. He was immediately look after.”
A family member who visited Rao on Wednesday at JJ Hospital said, “He was kept in the case transit ward and left unattended. His clothes were soiled and he remained incoherent, unable to recognise his wife or daughters.”
Doctors said he suffers from age-related illness atrophy, in which the size of the brain shrinks as age advances, and the patient suffers from delirium. He suffered dizziness in the initial days of admission but now remains conscious. Doctors in Nanavati hospital said he is currently stable.
A CT scan, ECG and chest X-ray were conducted on him at St George’s hospital. “No complications related to Covid-19 were found,” said Dr Akash Khobragade, medical superintendent in St George’s hospital.
Rao was arrested from Pune along with eight others in 2018 in connection with the Elgaar Parishad event held in the city in December 2017. Eleven accused are currently behind bars in connection with the case.