NEW DELHI – The 80-year old Poet-activist Varavara Rao, named as accused in the Elgar Parishad case, has tested positive for Covid-19 after being shifted to state-run JJ Hospital from Taloja central jail where he was lodged. The hospital conducted tests including one for Covid-19 the results for which confirmed that he is positive.
Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar, the dean of JJ Hospital, said, “He has 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.
Last week, Rao’s family had held a press conference after receiving a call from him from prison. His family had then said that his condition was deteriorating and he should be provided immediate medical aid. He was earlier shifted to the hospital when he fell unconscious in jail in May but was discharged within three days. The family had said that he was not provided proper medical treatment.
Last month, a special court had rejected his interim bail plea where he had cited his susceptibility to the virus due to his age and other medical conditions. The court, however, had said the superintendent of prison has been directed to take appropriate measures in such cases where medical attention is required. Before he was shifted to the hospital on Tuesday, Rao was admitted to the hospital ward of the jail and as he had been unable to do basic chores without depending on other inmates.
An appeal against the special court’s order is pending before the Bombay High Court. The plea is likely to be heard tomorrow.