Telangana’s Senior activist, writer, and poet Varavara Rao’s family said that the ‘Telangana government is trying to kill’ him in detention without providing medical care. The 81-year-old is suffering from delirium due to electrolyte imbalance in his body, the worried family said. The family members are worried that Rao might suffer brain damage if immediate medical care is not provided.
Rao’s family members highlight his deteriorating health while he is in prison to #KhabarLive over the phone, and to bring pressure on the government to shift him to a super specialty hospital for treatment. “Our immediate demand is to provide better treatment to Varavara Rao or hand him over to us so that we can take care of him. We don’t want to talk about politics or the bail, our only immediate demand is to shift him to a super specialty hospital for treatment,” said journalist N Venugopal, nephew of Varavara Rao. Breaking into tears, he added, “The state is trying to kill him.”
The family accused the Maharashtra government and the National Investigation Agency of criminal negligence, for not providing proper medical care to the undertrial political prisoner.
They said that Rao was falsely implicated and although he was eligible for bail, they were denied five times. “There is no evidence, no investigation. The process of investigation has become a punishment,” Venugopal said.
Rao has been imprisoned in Taloja jail for allegedly plotting the assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for the Bhima Koregaon violence which took place in 2018.
The family has been worried about Rao’s health since a phone call in which he was hallucinating about the funeral of his father and mother, who had died when he was very young.
“We lost all courage after yesterday’s phone call,” said an emotional Hemalatha, Varavara Rao’s wife. She said that his co-prisoner Vernon Gonsalves, who too was arrested under the same allegations, told her that Rao is unable to walk without help; go to the washroom without help. The family said that they will move an immediate petition in the Maharashtra High Court demanding healthcare for Rao.
It must be recalled that Rao was admitted to JJ Hospital on May 28, after his health deteriorated. However, soon he was brought back to jail. Venugopal alleged that the NIA authorities – who are investigating the case – have lied to the court that his health condition was stable. “His potassium and sodium levels are low. His incoherent behavior indicates this,” Venugopal said.
Recently, several intellectuals from across the world including the likes of Noam Chomsky and dozens of Indian parliamentarians like DMK’s Kanimozhi wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealing for the release of the ailing poet.
As Rao’s health was deteriorating, Hemalatha wrote multiple pleas to the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Maharashtra CM, Telangana CM, and the Governors, seeking his release from jail in view of the COVID-19 crisis. However, except for Maharashtra Governor, none responded to her appeal, she said.
Meanwhile, since Saturday evening, the demand for free Varavara Rao has been rising on social media. #KhabarLive #hydnewes