Bhima Koregaon case: Family of jailed poet Varavara Rao claims his life is in danger

Family members of Telugu poet and activist Pendyala Varavara Rao, who is currently in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, claimed that his life is in danger and appealed the Centre and the Maharashtra government to provide him with immediate medical care.

Behind bars since 2018, Rao’s interim bail plea citing ill health and susceptibility to Covid-19 was rejected by a special court on June 27.

“The state is trying to kill him. His brain is getting damaged. Our only demand at the moment is to get him medical care or leave him to the family. We will take care of him. The constitution of India gives everyone the right to life. Varavara Rao’s life is in danger. Please don’t kill him in jail,” said N Venugopal Rao, Rao’s nephew.

According to the family members, Rao’s health condition has worsened ever since he was shifted to JJ Hospital from Taloja Jail in an unconscious state on May 28, 2020. Even as he was discharged from the hospital and sent back to jail three days later, there has been no improvement in his health and he is still in need of emergency health care, they said.

The family said that during their conversation with him via phone on July 11, Rao did not answer straight questions on his health and went into a kind of delirious and hallucinated talk about the funeral of his father and mother, the events that happened seven decades and four decades ago respectively.

The poet’s wife Hemalatha, 72, said Rao being a teacher, orator and poet has never fumbled for words or thoughts in his life and it was horrifying to find him searching for words to speak. She reminded the Telangana government that her husband was at the forefront of the struggle for separate Telangana state since 1969, and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao or his officials have not responded to any representations from the family so far.

In the Elgaar Parishad case, 11 persons were booked on charges that they were part of a criminal conspiracy to organise the event in Pune on December 29, 2017, which has been linked to the assault on Dalits at Bhima Koregaon village on January 1, 2018.

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