14 MPs across party lines, mostly from Tamil Nadu, have written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urging him to shift 81-year-old poet Varavara Rao to hospital from Taloja jail where he is lodged in connection with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case.
Among those who wrote are DMK’s Kanimozhi, the party’s MP in the Rajya Sabha Tiruchi Siva, VCK’s MP from Chidambaram Thol. Thirumavalavan, RJD’s Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha, INC’s MP from Nalgonda Uttam Reddy and CPI(M)’s S. Venkatesan, MP from Madurai.
They said in the letter that they wished to register their grave concern at the deteriorating health of the 81-year-old who is now lodged in Taloja jail in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. They pointed that there are reports of massive surge in Coronavirus infections within prisons and some deaths too have occurred in prisons in the state, which were later found to be due to Coronavirus.
“It has also come to our notice through the family members of Varavara Rao that the aged poet is vomiting several times daily and is not keeping well. His family mentioned that his voice was extremely feeble when he could speak to them on a call..,” the letter said.
It also pointed to his hospitalisation in JJ hospital where he was rushed “in a semi-conscious state on a stretcher after a fainting episode”. “This deterioration in his health happened when he was under observation of the doctors in the Taloja prison,” it said.
It further noted that his medical reports from JJ hospital indicate an electrolyte disturbance which could prove detrimental as he is already a cardiac patient.
It urged that his health condition is dire and he be shifted to a hospital and that the present level of care provided to him in jail is not acceptable.
The letter also requested access to medical treatment to GN Saibaba, whose health condition is also vulnerable, it said.
Varavara Rao’s daughter Pavana speaking with FPJ said that on a routine phone call that Rao was allowed to make from jail on June 7, the family felt his health was not good as he was unable to hear and kept speaking loudly. "We had requested the court for phone, video calls with him as well as made public appeals for it," Pavana said.
Rao’s interim bail on health grounds is pending before the special NIA court and will be heard on June 26.