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Health Freedom

Varavara Rao tests Covid-19 positive!

The 79-year-old has been in jail since 2018, in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case. Family calls it criminal negligence of the State.

Sabrangindia 16 Jul 2020

Varavara Rao

Friends, family, students and supporters of jailed revolutionary poet activist Varavara Rao had their worst fears confirmed on Thursday, when news came in that the 79-year-old had tested positive for Covid-19.

As soon as the news was confirmed, Rao’s nephew N Venugopal posted the information on social media, “Mumbai friends confirmed that Varavara Rao tested Covid positive. Criminal negligence of the state.”

According to the Indian Express, Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar, the dean of JJ Hospital, said Rao had “shown no symptoms of Covid-19 so far. He has no breathing difficulty and is stable. We will soon shift him to a Covid hospital.” Rao is likely to be shifted to St George hospital, stated the report.

The family however is extremely concerned about the callous treatment Varavara Rao has had been provided. They are hoping that the state government will shift him to a hospital that is well equipped to deal with his multiple complications since it's the abysmal conditions in prison that have led him to catch the dreaded pandemic.

On Monday, 79-year-old Rao had been urgently shifted to JJ Hospital from Taloja Jail as his health began worsening. His family was worried that the police may pressurise the hospital to discharge him once he stabilises and send him back to jail. According to his family, Rao had been incoherent and too weak to even sustain a phone call the last time they spoke. This had alarmed them to the extent that they urgently called a video press conference on Sunday, and appealed once again that he be rushed to a proper hospital and given urgent medical care he needed. 

The family states that they were not informed by the jail authorities when Rao was shifted to JJ hospital and only came to know from elsewhere. According to his nephew, N Venugopal, Rao was then put through various medical tests, and even then the hospital said that Rao was “brought in for evaluation only”.

“Though it was mandatory to inform family about these developments, neither the government nor jail, police, hospital authorities did not provide any official information to the family,” said Venugopal. 

Rao had been admitted at the same hospital on May 28 evening but was hurriedly discharged on June 1 and sent back to jail with a ‘comment’ that “His health is steady and all vitals normal”. However, Rao’s family maintained that he was not normal when he was discharged from hospital last time. 

On Thursday, Madabhushi Sridhar, one of Rao’s students even wrote to Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao and appealed to him to intervene to help Rao get proper medical treatment at least. The letter was also posted on social media and read, “Our poet, my lecturer Shri P Varavara Rao is suffering in jail and hospitals. It is reported today that he is suffering from Covid19 positive (sic). Professor Jayashankar is a good friend of P Varavara Rao. As a principal of CKM College, he was trying to protect the job of Varavara Rao, (faculty of CKM College) when he was arrested during Emergency. Had Jayashankar and Kaloji been alive today, they would have certainly prevailed on you to get Varavara Rao released. I request you at least get him to a good hospital in Hyderabad for best treatment.” Sridhar has added that Rao’s students were willing to bear the medical costs, “Government need not spend its money for his treatment.” Sridhar requested the CM to “please speak to Union Home Minister and do something urgently to save life of Varavara Rao.”

 

Related: 

Varavara Rao is in hospital today, but the risk to his life is not over: Family

Does India uphold Prisoners’ Right to Health?

Covid-19 a death sentence for Prof. Saibaba: Wife demands release

Varavara Rao tests Covid-19 positive!

The 79-year-old has been in jail since 2018, in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case. Family calls it criminal negligence of the State.

Varavara Rao

Friends, family, students and supporters of jailed revolutionary poet activist Varavara Rao had their worst fears confirmed on Thursday, when news came in that the 79-year-old had tested positive for Covid-19.

As soon as the news was confirmed, Rao’s nephew N Venugopal posted the information on social media, “Mumbai friends confirmed that Varavara Rao tested Covid positive. Criminal negligence of the state.”

According to the Indian Express, Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar, the dean of JJ Hospital, said Rao had “shown no symptoms of Covid-19 so far. He has no breathing difficulty and is stable. We will soon shift him to a Covid hospital.” Rao is likely to be shifted to St George hospital, stated the report.

The family however is extremely concerned about the callous treatment Varavara Rao has had been provided. They are hoping that the state government will shift him to a hospital that is well equipped to deal with his multiple complications since it's the abysmal conditions in prison that have led him to catch the dreaded pandemic.

On Monday, 79-year-old Rao had been urgently shifted to JJ Hospital from Taloja Jail as his health began worsening. His family was worried that the police may pressurise the hospital to discharge him once he stabilises and send him back to jail. According to his family, Rao had been incoherent and too weak to even sustain a phone call the last time they spoke. This had alarmed them to the extent that they urgently called a video press conference on Sunday, and appealed once again that he be rushed to a proper hospital and given urgent medical care he needed. 

The family states that they were not informed by the jail authorities when Rao was shifted to JJ hospital and only came to know from elsewhere. According to his nephew, N Venugopal, Rao was then put through various medical tests, and even then the hospital said that Rao was “brought in for evaluation only”.

“Though it was mandatory to inform family about these developments, neither the government nor jail, police, hospital authorities did not provide any official information to the family,” said Venugopal. 

Rao had been admitted at the same hospital on May 28 evening but was hurriedly discharged on June 1 and sent back to jail with a ‘comment’ that “His health is steady and all vitals normal”. However, Rao’s family maintained that he was not normal when he was discharged from hospital last time. 

On Thursday, Madabhushi Sridhar, one of Rao’s students even wrote to Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao and appealed to him to intervene to help Rao get proper medical treatment at least. The letter was also posted on social media and read, “Our poet, my lecturer Shri P Varavara Rao is suffering in jail and hospitals. It is reported today that he is suffering from Covid19 positive (sic). Professor Jayashankar is a good friend of P Varavara Rao. As a principal of CKM College, he was trying to protect the job of Varavara Rao, (faculty of CKM College) when he was arrested during Emergency. Had Jayashankar and Kaloji been alive today, they would have certainly prevailed on you to get Varavara Rao released. I request you at least get him to a good hospital in Hyderabad for best treatment.” Sridhar has added that Rao’s students were willing to bear the medical costs, “Government need not spend its money for his treatment.” Sridhar requested the CM to “please speak to Union Home Minister and do something urgently to save life of Varavara Rao.”

 

Related: 

Varavara Rao is in hospital today, but the risk to his life is not over: Family

Does India uphold Prisoners’ Right to Health?

Covid-19 a death sentence for Prof. Saibaba: Wife demands release

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Jan

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North Gate, JNU campus

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10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

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2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
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The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
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Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020
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