HYDERABAD — Family members of activist Varavara Rao, accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, have approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking a direction to a Mumbai hospital, where he is being treated for COVID-19, and prison authorities to provide “transparent” updates on his health status.
The petition filed on Friday stated that the family was compelled to approach the rights body as they were denied any information about his condition or his treatment at the Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai.
“Today, we are compelled to write this letter to you, as we are denied any information about his condition or his treatment at the Nanavati Hospital. From the time he was shifted out of Taloja Jail to St Georges hospital to Nanavati hospital, the only official information provided to the family was that he had tested positive for the COVID-19,” they said.
Denial of any information on Varavara Rao’s health is a direct violation of NHRC’s July 13 order, whereby it had specifically directed the prison authorities to provide all the necessary medical care and assistance to the poet with intimation to his family members, they added.
Seeking NHRC’s intervention, the family sought official updates on his health and line of treatment every six hours.
Varvara Rao, 80, was undergoing treatment in Mumbai hospitals since July 16 after being tested for coronavirus positive.
He has been in jail for around 22 months and had approached the special NIA court, seeking bail on medical grounds and the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
Varavara Rao and nine other activists have been arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, which was initially probed by the Pune Police and later transferred to the NIA in January this year.
The case related to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial.
The police have also claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.