Varavara Tests Positive For COVID-19, 80-Yr Old Jailed Under UAPA
Rao is an activist and Telugu poet. He has been in jail past 2 years regarding his connection with the Elgar Parishad case. He was kept in Taloja prison and later was shifted to Mumbai’s JJ Hospital after complaining of giddiness.
“He has shown no symptoms of COVID-19 so far. He has no breathing difficulty and is stable. We will soon shift him to a COVID-19 hospital,” , The News Minute quoted Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar, the dean of JJ Hospital as saying.
Mankeshwar also stated the claims made by Rao’s family as false claims. He added that Rao has been provided with the best health facilities.
After the Varavara Rao’s family tried visiting him at the JJ Hospital, details of his deteriorated health came out. His family members found Rao lying in an inhumane condition, claimed a letter by Human Rights Defenders Alert. Famil members saw Rao in a pool of urine in a transit ward where there was no treatment or any attendant. “When his nephew tried to change his urine-soaked bed sheets, the family was thrown out by the hospital staff,” the letter, as quoted in an article on Newsclick, stated.
As per an article in Scroll, Rao’s family also said that Rao was hallucinating his father’s funeral which happened 75 years ago.
The FirstPost wrote that Venugopal said that his co-accused and former academic Vernon Gonsalves took the phone from him and told them that Rao was “unable to walk on his own, unable to go to the loo, to wash or to brush his teeth.”
The FirstPost pointed the reports by Indian Express, Rao had also needed hospitalisation in May when he fell unconscious in jail. However, he was discharged within three days, after which his family had said that he was not provided proper medical treatment.
Rao’s lawyers have tried to get him bail several times over the past 22 months, on the grounds of his ill health.