Poets implore P.M. to release Varavara Rao

Published : April 15, 2020 15:48 IST

Varavara Rao at his residence in Hyderabad, a file picture. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

A group of poets from different languages, including Gulzar, has sought the immediate release of the Telugu poet, writer and activist Varavara Rao, who has been imprisoned in Maharashtra as an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.

Rao has been openly critical of the state. His name surfaced in the case following the arrest of the lawyer Surendra Gadling. A letter, allegedly penned by Rao, was recovered from Gadling.

In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gulzar, along with 40 poets, sought the release of the 80-year-old Rao in view of the health emergency in the country.

A copy of the representation was also submitted to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the National Human Rights Commission.

“Varavara Rao, renowned poet, writer and harbinger of change in modern Telugu poetry, eighty years of age, runs a high risk of ailment considering his age, deteriorating health and the crowding situation in jail. Vernon Gonsalves, a fellow prisoner, had sent a message to the advocate drawing attention to the worrisome health condition of Rao. In this context, we see the plea for help with utmost concern,” the representation read.

“Therefore, we, poets from various languages in India, request the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release poet Varavara Rao urgently and save his life.”

The poets also requested the Prime Minister to consider the release of all other detainees in the high-risk category in the light of the pandemic.