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Varavara Rao’ family demands official, and regular health updates

Withholding health updates of a person in judicial custody from his family is illegal, unconstitutional and inhuman, say Rao’s kin

Sabrangindia 20 Jul 2020

Image Courtesy:redspark.nu

Journalist and poet N Venugopal is in the middle of multiple phone calls all day now. Coordinating information about his uncle the noted poet Varavara Rao, he has not had a moment of rest since he got back to Hyderabad with the family after meeting the ailing Rao briefly on July 15. “We have not met him since then. Not even his wife has met him, and now the High Court has postponed the bail matter to July 23! They have asked the NIA to let them know if the family can meet him. This after taking note of the grave health status!!!! What a great democracy! What a perfect rule of law! What a noble sense of humanity!!,” he told SabrangIndia in a brief phone call, and also posted this statement on his social media wall.

N Venugopal has been articulating, and sharing with the media, that Varavara Rao’s family has asked for “transparent, official, and regular health updates,” about the 79 year old poet who now suffers from  Covid-19. All the information they have had so far is from the media. On Monday they came to know that Varavara Rao had also “suffered a head injury“, by the time he was brought to Nanavati Hospital, his family was not informed at all about any update officially.”  Rao’s family has  stated that: “Not sharing health updates of a person in judicial custody with his family is illegal, unconstitutional and inhuman.”

When Rao was shifted from Taloja Jail to JJ Hospital, then to St George Hospital and eventually to Nanavati Hospital the course of the past one week, his family got official information only when he tested Covid positive. All the other information is known to the family through secondary sources. “When he was moved to St George and family came to know about it and tried to get confirmation, jail authorities gave confirmation only. The information of shifting him to Nanavati Hospital and worrying news of health status and deterioration for the last two days, including Nanavati finding a head injury, was known to family through friends in media and civil society only,” stated the family who now has the additional burden of sifting out rumours and half truths that are also being scirculating in . In the absence of official information.

“Today’s news that he suffered a head injury whether in JJ Hospital or St George, but discovered on arrival at Nanavati, made us highly perturbed and worried about his safety and well-being. It is the family’s right to get official transparent updates on his health status, line of treatment and probable risks, but the concerned prison, police and health administrations in a gross dereliction of their duties have not come out to family with the much needed information. This is not only a gross violation of the family’s right to information, but also a grave misconduct on the part of the state government institutions,” stated Rao’s wife and daughters in their message, posted on social media by Venugopal. 

Varavara Rao’s wife P Hemalatha and daughters P Sahaja, P Anala, P Pavana have  made the following demands: 

1. To allow a family member to assist/attend since he is reportedly not in a position to do anything on his own. 

2. To immediately direct the hospital administration or prison administration to provide transparent, official updates on Varavara Rao’s health status and line of treatment on a regular basis once or twice in a day as long as he is in hospital. 

3. To provide the family a contact in the hospital to seek and get the information. 

4. To make all his medical records accessible to the family. 

5. To remove hurdles and enable the judicial process to grant regular bail or interim bail on health, age and Covid grounds so that his family will take care of his health in a hospital of their choice.

Meanwhile, many more voices have been rising to demand the immediate release of Prof. Varavara Rao and other rights activists currently in jain, even as Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread.

The most recent was a mass protest in Punjab called for by the  Association For Democratic Rights on Sunday. Protests were held across the state including,Nawan-Shehr, Sangrur, Moga, Barnala, Patiala, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Mansa, Muktsar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, and even Sirsa (Haryana). The activists protested against “the conspiracy of RSS-BJP Govt to cause a slow and latently creeping death of the eminent pro-people intellectuals by incarcerating them in jails.” The  AFDR activists were joined by representatives  of other organizations such as, Rationalist Society Punjab, Pargatisheel Lekhak Manch (Haryana), Punjab Students Union, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Inqlabi Kender Punjab, Lok Sangram Morcha, PLS Manch,Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), Varg Chetna, Pendu Mazdoor Union (Mashal), Punjab Radical Students Union,Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union, BKU (Krantikari), Democratic Teachers Front, DMF (Democratic Employees Federation), Technical and Mechanical Union, Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendar, Punjabi Sahitya Sabha, and others.

They that Rao’s bail has been rejected five times already and “Refusing the bail to Professor Anand Teltumbde, Guatam Navlakha, Advocate Surender Gadling, Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj,Professor Vernon Gonsalves, Advocate Arun Fareira and Professor G.N Saibaba, who is 90 % handicapped, and Anti-CAA women protestors and many other activists shows that the Government wants to physically eliminate such people who question its policies by keeping them in Corona infected jails.”

They added that: “If any physical harm happens to Professor Varvara Rao or any other Intellectual or political activists the central BJP government, National Investigation Agency and Judges, who time and again are declining them bails, would be solely responsible for such loss,” and  demanded that all intellectuals and activists must be released immediately, false cases dropped and draconian laws such as UAPA be repealed. 


Related: 

Only political vendetta can explain Varavara Rao's incarceration
NHRC demands report on Varavara Rao's health, jail condition
Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde ask to be tested for Covid-19
Covid-19 a death sentence for Prof. Saibaba: Wife demands release
Does India uphold Prisoners’ Right to Health?

Varavara Rao’ family demands official, and regular health updates

Withholding health updates of a person in judicial custody from his family is illegal, unconstitutional and inhuman, say Rao’s kin

Image Courtesy:redspark.nu

Journalist and poet N Venugopal is in the middle of multiple phone calls all day now. Coordinating information about his uncle the noted poet Varavara Rao, he has not had a moment of rest since he got back to Hyderabad with the family after meeting the ailing Rao briefly on July 15. “We have not met him since then. Not even his wife has met him, and now the High Court has postponed the bail matter to July 23! They have asked the NIA to let them know if the family can meet him. This after taking note of the grave health status!!!! What a great democracy! What a perfect rule of law! What a noble sense of humanity!!,” he told SabrangIndia in a brief phone call, and also posted this statement on his social media wall.

N Venugopal has been articulating, and sharing with the media, that Varavara Rao’s family has asked for “transparent, official, and regular health updates,” about the 79 year old poet who now suffers from  Covid-19. All the information they have had so far is from the media. On Monday they came to know that Varavara Rao had also “suffered a head injury“, by the time he was brought to Nanavati Hospital, his family was not informed at all about any update officially.”  Rao’s family has  stated that: “Not sharing health updates of a person in judicial custody with his family is illegal, unconstitutional and inhuman.”

When Rao was shifted from Taloja Jail to JJ Hospital, then to St George Hospital and eventually to Nanavati Hospital the course of the past one week, his family got official information only when he tested Covid positive. All the other information is known to the family through secondary sources. “When he was moved to St George and family came to know about it and tried to get confirmation, jail authorities gave confirmation only. The information of shifting him to Nanavati Hospital and worrying news of health status and deterioration for the last two days, including Nanavati finding a head injury, was known to family through friends in media and civil society only,” stated the family who now has the additional burden of sifting out rumours and half truths that are also being scirculating in . In the absence of official information.

“Today’s news that he suffered a head injury whether in JJ Hospital or St George, but discovered on arrival at Nanavati, made us highly perturbed and worried about his safety and well-being. It is the family’s right to get official transparent updates on his health status, line of treatment and probable risks, but the concerned prison, police and health administrations in a gross dereliction of their duties have not come out to family with the much needed information. This is not only a gross violation of the family’s right to information, but also a grave misconduct on the part of the state government institutions,” stated Rao’s wife and daughters in their message, posted on social media by Venugopal. 

Varavara Rao’s wife P Hemalatha and daughters P Sahaja, P Anala, P Pavana have  made the following demands: 

1. To allow a family member to assist/attend since he is reportedly not in a position to do anything on his own. 

2. To immediately direct the hospital administration or prison administration to provide transparent, official updates on Varavara Rao’s health status and line of treatment on a regular basis once or twice in a day as long as he is in hospital. 

3. To provide the family a contact in the hospital to seek and get the information. 

4. To make all his medical records accessible to the family. 

5. To remove hurdles and enable the judicial process to grant regular bail or interim bail on health, age and Covid grounds so that his family will take care of his health in a hospital of their choice.

Meanwhile, many more voices have been rising to demand the immediate release of Prof. Varavara Rao and other rights activists currently in jain, even as Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread.

The most recent was a mass protest in Punjab called for by the  Association For Democratic Rights on Sunday. Protests were held across the state including,Nawan-Shehr, Sangrur, Moga, Barnala, Patiala, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Mansa, Muktsar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, and even Sirsa (Haryana). The activists protested against “the conspiracy of RSS-BJP Govt to cause a slow and latently creeping death of the eminent pro-people intellectuals by incarcerating them in jails.” The  AFDR activists were joined by representatives  of other organizations such as, Rationalist Society Punjab, Pargatisheel Lekhak Manch (Haryana), Punjab Students Union, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Inqlabi Kender Punjab, Lok Sangram Morcha, PLS Manch,Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), Varg Chetna, Pendu Mazdoor Union (Mashal), Punjab Radical Students Union,Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union, BKU (Krantikari), Democratic Teachers Front, DMF (Democratic Employees Federation), Technical and Mechanical Union, Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendar, Punjabi Sahitya Sabha, and others.

They that Rao’s bail has been rejected five times already and “Refusing the bail to Professor Anand Teltumbde, Guatam Navlakha, Advocate Surender Gadling, Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj,Professor Vernon Gonsalves, Advocate Arun Fareira and Professor G.N Saibaba, who is 90 % handicapped, and Anti-CAA women protestors and many other activists shows that the Government wants to physically eliminate such people who question its policies by keeping them in Corona infected jails.”

They added that: “If any physical harm happens to Professor Varvara Rao or any other Intellectual or political activists the central BJP government, National Investigation Agency and Judges, who time and again are declining them bails, would be solely responsible for such loss,” and  demanded that all intellectuals and activists must be released immediately, false cases dropped and draconian laws such as UAPA be repealed. 


Related: 

Only political vendetta can explain Varavara Rao's incarceration
NHRC demands report on Varavara Rao's health, jail condition
Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde ask to be tested for Covid-19
Covid-19 a death sentence for Prof. Saibaba: Wife demands release
Does India uphold Prisoners’ Right to Health?

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