The family of octogenarian Telugu poet Varavara Rao, an undertrial in the Elgar Parishad - Bhima Koregaon case, has written to the state Home Minister, requesting that he direct the Taloja jail authorities or Nanavati hospital for information on Rao’s health status.
They said in the letter, a copy of which is sent to the Additional Director General, Prisons, “We hope you will understand the anxiety of a family who is kept in dark for 12 days when a member is lodged in hospital in a grave condition,” and emphasised Rao’s age and that he has tested positive.
It is his duty to inform the family in case of any problem to his health as per the Charter of Patient Rights prepared by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, they said. All the time he was admitted in three different hospitals, the only time they were provided any information about him was about Rao testing positive for coronavirus on July 16, the letter said.
The family narrated how their calls to the Taloja prison are going unanswered, calls to the superintendent of the prison disconnected or they are being told that the jail has no information on his health. Similarly, they were stonewalled by Nanavati hospital, with the hospital PRO telling them that the hospital has been updating the jail authorities about Rao’s condition.
Saying that it was ‘very clear” that the jail authorities have regular updates about his health condition, they called it ‘inhuman’ and ‘unethical’ to withhold information about his health from his anxious family.
This is the third time the family has made an appeal for information on his health condition. On July 20, they had made a press release, demanding information on his health and, on July 24, they had written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding the issue.
Rao had tested positive on July 16. His interim bail plea had been rejected by the NIA court and his appeal in the Bombay High Court is pending. Last Thursday, the plea was to be heard, but the court could not take it up due to the paucity of time.