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NHRC demands report on Varavara Rao's health, jail condition

National Human Rights Commission issues notices to Maharashtra Chief Secretary and Director General (Prisons) seeking report within two weeks

Sabrangindia 17 Jul 2020

Image Courtesy:livemint.com

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General (Prisons), Maharashtra, and asked for a report on the jail conditions that Telugu poet Vaavara Rao has been kept in, and his health status. This report is to be submitted within two weeks.

The NHRC has also directed the jail authorities to “constitute a Medical Board to examine the health condition” of Rao and to see whether the treatment being provided to him is appropriate. The Commission has acted on a complaint from Maja Daruwala, the Special Monitor of the Commission regarding the difficulties being faced by Varavara Rao who is lodged in Taloja jail in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The NHRC was informed that the nearly 80-year-old Rao is suffering from multiple ailments which have led to his deteriorating health. Now Rao is unable to walk, and it has been alleged that jail authorities were not providing him the requisite healthcare facilities. 

The NHRC’s proceedings on July 13 observed that “the right to life and medical care is one of the basic human rights and the State is duty bound to provide a prisoner who is in its custody, appropriate medical care so that there should be no danger to his life.” The medical board will also decide in which hospital, whether government or private, will  Rao get “the best medical treatment.” 

Maja Daruwala had written to the NHRC informing the commission that Rao’s health was “deteriorating and the authorities are ignoring his condition.” The NHRC also stated that it had been informed that when Rao’s family visited him in JJ Hospital “they were shocked to see that he was lying in the transit ward in a pool of urine on the bed and was still incoherent.” They said, “He could not recognise his wife and daughters immediately and the nurses in the hospital told the family members that there was no equipment or treatment available to be given to the patient in the transit ward.”

The NHRC also noted media reports that confirmed that Rao had tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to St. George Hospital, a State run Covid-19 facility. Many Human Rights Defenders have also approached the Commission raising their concern about Rao’s condition.

While the Commission has already taken cognizance and awaits the submission of a report from the State authorities, it has also made further strong observations, and said with Rao, testing positive for Covid-19, the “danger to his life has grown bigger which is a matter of concern for the Commission.” 

The NHRC addressed the question of saving a precious human life leaving apart the legal aspect of the matter. “It is, therefore, necessary that the State Government should provide Shri Rao the best possible treatment in a reputed super speciality private hospital without any further delay,” it stated.

The NHRC has asked the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra to look into the matter personally, “Vara Vara Rao is an Under Trial Prisoner presently in the custody of the State. Hence, the government must ensure that all the expenditure of the medical treatment of Shri Rao to be borne by the State being his lawful custodian.”

The Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra is expected to submit the compliance report, immediately, and also the pending report called for by the Commission on July 13.

On May 14, the  NHRC had issued notices to the Maharashtra Chief Secretary and DG(Prisons) over allegations of wrong interpretation of the Supreme Court Order about releasing the prisoners in the wake of Covid-19.

According to a statement posted on its website, the  NHRC, had taken cognizance of a complaint that the Government of Maharashtra has adopted an “inappropriate approach about the release of prisoners, which may lead to infecting many prisoners with Covid-19.” The complaint had been filed by the Commission’s Prison Monitor, Maja Daruwala. It was alleged that in “ random tests conducted on 144 prisoners in the Arthur Road Jail, 103 were found positive including 26 members of the staff.” The Commission had observed that it was “aware of the fact that in many jails, the prisoners as well as the staff members have fallen prey to the Covid-19 virus due to overcrowding, lack of manpower and medical facilities.” 

It had then asked for a report should be submitted to the Commission with “details of all the jails in the State of Maharashtra mentioning capacity of the jail, number of prisoners presently lodged, number of prisoners found positive for Covid-19, number of prisoners kept under quarantine, number of prisoners died due to Covid-19 illness and steps being taken by the State prison authority to ensure safety of the prisoners and the personnel working at the jails across the state.” 

That statement may be read here.


Related:

Save his life: Poets and writers appeal to President of India to help Varavara Rao
Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde ask to be tested for Covid-19
Varavara Rao tests Covid-19 positive!
Does India uphold Prisoners’ Right to Health?
Varavara Rao is in hospital today, but the risk to his life is not over: Family
Don’t Kill Varavara Rao in Jail!

NHRC demands report on Varavara Rao's health, jail condition

National Human Rights Commission issues notices to Maharashtra Chief Secretary and Director General (Prisons) seeking report within two weeks

Image Courtesy:livemint.com

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General (Prisons), Maharashtra, and asked for a report on the jail conditions that Telugu poet Vaavara Rao has been kept in, and his health status. This report is to be submitted within two weeks.

The NHRC has also directed the jail authorities to “constitute a Medical Board to examine the health condition” of Rao and to see whether the treatment being provided to him is appropriate. The Commission has acted on a complaint from Maja Daruwala, the Special Monitor of the Commission regarding the difficulties being faced by Varavara Rao who is lodged in Taloja jail in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The NHRC was informed that the nearly 80-year-old Rao is suffering from multiple ailments which have led to his deteriorating health. Now Rao is unable to walk, and it has been alleged that jail authorities were not providing him the requisite healthcare facilities. 

The NHRC’s proceedings on July 13 observed that “the right to life and medical care is one of the basic human rights and the State is duty bound to provide a prisoner who is in its custody, appropriate medical care so that there should be no danger to his life.” The medical board will also decide in which hospital, whether government or private, will  Rao get “the best medical treatment.” 

Maja Daruwala had written to the NHRC informing the commission that Rao’s health was “deteriorating and the authorities are ignoring his condition.” The NHRC also stated that it had been informed that when Rao’s family visited him in JJ Hospital “they were shocked to see that he was lying in the transit ward in a pool of urine on the bed and was still incoherent.” They said, “He could not recognise his wife and daughters immediately and the nurses in the hospital told the family members that there was no equipment or treatment available to be given to the patient in the transit ward.”

The NHRC also noted media reports that confirmed that Rao had tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to St. George Hospital, a State run Covid-19 facility. Many Human Rights Defenders have also approached the Commission raising their concern about Rao’s condition.

While the Commission has already taken cognizance and awaits the submission of a report from the State authorities, it has also made further strong observations, and said with Rao, testing positive for Covid-19, the “danger to his life has grown bigger which is a matter of concern for the Commission.” 

The NHRC addressed the question of saving a precious human life leaving apart the legal aspect of the matter. “It is, therefore, necessary that the State Government should provide Shri Rao the best possible treatment in a reputed super speciality private hospital without any further delay,” it stated.

The NHRC has asked the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra to look into the matter personally, “Vara Vara Rao is an Under Trial Prisoner presently in the custody of the State. Hence, the government must ensure that all the expenditure of the medical treatment of Shri Rao to be borne by the State being his lawful custodian.”

The Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra is expected to submit the compliance report, immediately, and also the pending report called for by the Commission on July 13.

On May 14, the  NHRC had issued notices to the Maharashtra Chief Secretary and DG(Prisons) over allegations of wrong interpretation of the Supreme Court Order about releasing the prisoners in the wake of Covid-19.

According to a statement posted on its website, the  NHRC, had taken cognizance of a complaint that the Government of Maharashtra has adopted an “inappropriate approach about the release of prisoners, which may lead to infecting many prisoners with Covid-19.” The complaint had been filed by the Commission’s Prison Monitor, Maja Daruwala. It was alleged that in “ random tests conducted on 144 prisoners in the Arthur Road Jail, 103 were found positive including 26 members of the staff.” The Commission had observed that it was “aware of the fact that in many jails, the prisoners as well as the staff members have fallen prey to the Covid-19 virus due to overcrowding, lack of manpower and medical facilities.” 

It had then asked for a report should be submitted to the Commission with “details of all the jails in the State of Maharashtra mentioning capacity of the jail, number of prisoners presently lodged, number of prisoners found positive for Covid-19, number of prisoners kept under quarantine, number of prisoners died due to Covid-19 illness and steps being taken by the State prison authority to ensure safety of the prisoners and the personnel working at the jails across the state.” 

That statement may be read here.


Related:

Save his life: Poets and writers appeal to President of India to help Varavara Rao
Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde ask to be tested for Covid-19
Varavara Rao tests Covid-19 positive!
Does India uphold Prisoners’ Right to Health?
Varavara Rao is in hospital today, but the risk to his life is not over: Family
Don’t Kill Varavara Rao in Jail!

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