The wife of Telugu poet-activist Varavara Rao on Thursday moved the Supreme Court, seeking his release on bail, reported Bar and Bench. Rao was arrested on August 31, 2018, in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
In her petition, Pendyala Hemalatha said Rao’s continued custody amounted to “cruel and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution of India and violative of his dignity in custody, which said right has been violated by the state of Maharashtra and NIA”.
Hemalatha sought that until the plea is decided, the 81-year-old poet-activist should be released on temporary medical bail. She said Rao was “in no position to stand trial in his present condition and needs critical medical care to keep him alive”.
“No useful purpose is being served by his continued incarceration except to torture him beyond human endurance. All bail applications are by definition urgent and ought to be given priority in hearing by all judicial authorities especially in the time of Covid-19.”
— Petition by Varavara Rao’s wife
Rao had recovered from coronavirus in August, and was sent back to Taloja Jail. “It is further known that Covid-19 hampers all organs including neurological or / and every patient displays different symptoms,” his wife said in her petition. “When the petitioner’s husband was arrested on August 28, 2018, he had no neurological problems. It is therefore highly likely that Covid-19 and the fall that he had in St George Hospital has led to neurological problems as reflected in the medical report filed by Nanavati Hospital.”
In July, his lawyer had told the Bombay High Court that Rao was almost on his deathbed. “Besides Covid-19, he suffers from several ailments, he is hallucinating and is delirious,” he had said. The court had said that Rao’s health required continuous monitoring.
Rao is among the activists and academics who have been accused of making inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the authorities claim triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial the next day.
This article first appeared on scroll.in