Varavara Rao diagnosed with a neurological condition, moved to Nanavati Hospital

Published : July 20, 2020 13:10 IST

Karnataka Police bringing Varavara Rao (in blue shirt) to Pavagada in Tumakuru district in connection with a 2005 naxal attack case, in July 2019. Photo: Sudhakara Jain

Jailed Telegu poet and activist P. Varavara Rao, who was shifted to a government hospital on July 14 because of a rapid deterioration in his health, has been diagnosed with a neurological and urological condition. He was moved to Nanavati Hospital in Juhu, Mumbai, on July 19. The 79-year-old writer has also tested positive for COVID-19, but is asymptomatic. He was housed in Taloja jail near Mumbai following his arrest in 2018 in connection with the Elgar Parishad event held in Pune in December 2017.

The poet’s health took a turn for the worse in recent months. However, it was only in early July when his family members spoke to him and his cell mate did they realise how serious his health condition was. The Maharashtra government shifted him to the J.J Hospital in Mumbai after the family and several writers and activist highlighted his condition in the media. His associates said that he was diagnosed with delirium, which is essentially deep mental distress that causes hallucinations and incoherence.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also issued a statement saying that he needs to get “the best possible treatment in a reputed super speciality private hospital without any further delay”. The commission also issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Maharashtra, and the Director General of Prisons to provide it with a report on the medical care being provided to prisoners in the current pandemic circumstances.

Varavara Rao’s appeal for bail is expected to be heard by the Bombay High Court this week. His two applications for bail had been rejected as he was arrested under the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), which does not have a provision for bail.

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