Deccan Chronicle

Varavara Rao family demands better medical aid for ailing poet

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: July 12, 2020 | Updated on: July 12, 2020

The family also said the Taloja jail is not equipped to handle his medical condition

Varavara Rao (file)

Varavara Rao (file)

Mumbai: The health of poet and activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, is deteriorating and he is "hallucinating and is in a delirious state", his family claimed on Sunday and urged the authorities concerned to provide him better medical aid.

The 81-year-old activist is currently lodged at the Taloja jail in Maharashtra's Navi Mumbai township.

Addressing an online press conference, Rao's wife, daughters and other family members said they wereworried about his "deteriorating health".

They claimed his health condition has been deteriorating ever since he was shifted to the state-run J J Hospital in Mumbai in an unconscious state on May 28, 2020.

Three days later, he was discharged and sent back to the jail even as there was no improvement in his health condition, they said.

"We were very much disturbed as during his routine calls (to family members) allowed by police, his voice was weak, he was incoherent, mumbling and unable to speak," Rao's wife said.

On Saturday, Rao did not answer straight questions on his health and went into a kind of "delirious and hallucinating state", she claimed, adding that he talked about the funeral of his father and mother, the events that happened decades ago.

She said Rao's co-accused informed them that the activist was unable to walk on his own.

"We were also told he is always hallucinating that the family members were waiting at the jail gate to receive him as he was getting released," she said.

"The confusion, loss of memory and incoherence are a result of the electrolyte imbalance in the body and fall in sodium and potassium levels, leading to a possible brain damage," she claimed.

The family also said the Taloja jail is "not equipped to handle his medical condition".

"Thus, it is highly required that Rao be shifted to a better hospitalto save his life," his wife said.

The family said at the present juncture, they were keeping aside all the pertinent facts of the case registered against Rao.

"His life is the topmost concern for us right now. Our present demand is to save his life. We demand the government to shift him to a better hospital or allow us to provide the required medical care," Rao's wife said.

"We want to remind the government that it has no right to deny the right to life to any person, much less an undertrial prisoner," she added.

Rao has been in jail for over 22 months.

His bail pleas, including thosefiled for relief on the ground of his age, ill-health and risk of COVID-19, have been rejected on multiple occasions.

Rao and 10 other activists were arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, which was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) by the Centre in January this year.

The case pertains to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave in Maharashtra's Pune on December 31, 2017, which the Pune police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district.

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