The family members of Varavara Rao, world-renowned Telugu revolutionary poet and public intellectual expressed their concern over the deteriorating health of Rao, who is incarcerated in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail, through a virtual press conference.
They claimed 81-year-old activists health condition has been on the decline over the past six weeks. There has been little improvement in his health since he had been shifted to JJ Hospital from Taloja Jail on May 28, 2020, in an unconscious state. Three days later he was discharged from the hospital and sent back to the jail. But no significant improvement has been observed in his health. The family maintained that the poet still needs emergency healthcare treatment.
His family has demanded both the central and state government to provide better health care for him. They also highlighted the need for the authorities to shift him immediately to a hospital.
N Venugopla, Rao’s nephew during the press meet said, “For two and half months Varavara was under house arrest. But in November he was taken to the jail. He has many physical complications. He suffers from at least seven known ailments, for which he had not been treated regularly, hence those conditions have now aggravated and he is now facing some more complications.”
He further alleged, “It’s a fabricated case. For the past two years, there has been no investigation, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) is trying to fabricate the case. The authorities did not find any proof against him so far. But the bail, even on health grounds, is being rejected.”
Reminding about the Supreme Court ruling, he said, “Supreme Court has clearly stated that if the prisoner is above 60 and has physical complications then he should be released. But his bail plea has been rejected again and again in the last 22 months.”
The family informed that on May 28, he was shifted to JJ hospital because he fell sick. His Potassium and Sodium level had shot down.
He maintained that the family, at the moment is very much worries, after receiving a call from the hospital. He said, “He has been critically ill for the past few days. He is mumbling things. Yesterday evening we got a scary call from him during which he was mumbling about the death of his father when he was three. His co-prisoner took the phone from his hand and said that the poet is unable to walk or go to the toilet. He is unable to brush his teeth, he is hallucinating. Doctors have indicated it as a sign of brain damage.”
Venugopla informed that in the last two years, Hemlata (Varavara’s wife) and other family members have written several letters to the many people including the President of India but are yet to get any reply.
He said, “We are saying please don’t kill him in the jail. Government has no right to take away the life of Varavara Rao. He is under judicial custody and he has all the right to get medical support.”
Venugopla added, “We are requesting the authorities to shift to a multi-speciality hospital for his treatment.”
Phone calls made us realize that his condition is critical
In the first few phone calls, he reciprocated what the family asked. His daughter P Pavana claimed, “Yesterday the way he spoke, was horrifying. He was unable to walk or complete his sentences. He was repeating one word again and again. Yesterday’s call made us understand that he is disoriented and that his condition is critical.”
She maintained that he is eligible for bail by all needs but still he hasn’t been granted one. “We are requesting the Maharashtra government because he is in Maharashtra jail and also the central government to have him shifted to a hospital, immediately.”Pavana added, “Yesterday I spoke to his jail co-mate when my father had called my mother. It made me understand that Varavara was getting food but he is not getting any treatment inside the jail.”
Feeling betrayed by Telangana CM and Maharashtra govt
“Maharashtra government spoke a lot about the Bhima Koregaon case, we expected that they would do something for those put behind the bars in connection with this case,” said Pavana.
She further said, “My mother wrote many letters to the Telangana Chief Minister and other authorities, my father was part of the Telangana movement, he was in the forefront from the very beginning but now the CM is not even responding to any of the letters written by my mother. We tried to contact the CM in many different ways but he did not reply.”
Pavana rued, “Will a person like Varavara Rao, who is a poet and an intellectual, die in jail because of the government’s negligence? It will be very bad.”