Skip to main content

Poet-activist's health deteriorating, present care in Mumbai jail 'unacceptable': 14 MPs

Counterview Desk
Fourteen members of Parliament* have addressed a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, expressing concern over the health of Varavara Rao, veteran Telugu writer and poet, who has been lodged in Taloja Prison, Navi Mumbai, following sharp deterioration in his health. A campaigner for the rights of the tribals and the poor, Rao was arrested from Hyderabad August 28, 2018 by the Pune Police following the Bhima Koregaon violence, where the police claimed to have found links between Varavara Rao and Naxal activists.
With the National Investigation Agency (NIA) taking over the case, Varavara Rao was shifted to the Taloja Prison in February 2020. On May 29, 2020 he suffered a fainting episode due to which he had to be urgently rushed to the JJ hospital, Mumbai. However, he was hurriedly discharged after just three days. The bail hearing on health grounds is scheduled for hearing on June 26, 2020.
However, due to the rapidly deteriorating health of the 80-year-old activist-poet, 14 sitting MPs decided to urge Thackeray to shift him to a hospital facility where a thorough investigation can be conducted, and due care provided till his complete recovery.
The statement, signed by MPs from several opposition parties, including Congress, DMK and CPI-M, also requests access to medical treatment for Dr GN Saibaba, the wheelchair bound professor with 90% disabilities, whose health condition is also most vulnerable.

Text:

We, the undersigned Members of Parliament, wish to register our grave concern at the deteriorating health of the 81-year-old people's poet Varavara Rao, now lodged in Taloja Jail under the Bhima Koregaon case. We are seeing reports every day of the massive surge in Covid-19 infections within prisons (It has been reported that four deaths have already occurred in prisons across Maharashtra, all of which were later found to be Covid-19 positive.)
It has also come to our notice through the family members of Varavara Rao that the aged poet is vomiting several times daily and is not keeping well. His family mentioned that Varavara Rao’s voice was extremely feeble when he could speak to them on a call made after a month. Two weeks ago, on May 30, 2020, he was rushed to JJ Hospital in Mumbai in a semi-conscious state on a stretcher after a fainting episode.
This deterioration in his health happened while he was under observation of the doctors in the Taloja prison. Varavara Rao’s health reports from JJ hospital indicate an electrolyte disturbance which could prove detrimental as he is already a cardiac patient. He has intestinal ulcers which need urgent investigation (colonoscopy) as directed by doctors while he was in Pune jails. This procedure has not been conducted after more than six months of prescription.
As he is under such a dire health condition, we urge you to transfer him to a hospital. The present level of care provided in the jail is not acceptable. We request you to give him the necessary and urgent medical attention by moving him to a hospital.
We also use this opportunity to request access to medical treatment for Dr GN Saibaba, the wheelchair-bound professor with 90% disabilities whose health condition is also most vulnerable.
---
*Signatories: Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, DMK; Komati Reddy Venkat Reddy, Congress; Prof Dr Manoj Jha, JJD; PR Natarajan, CPI-M; KK Ragesh, CPI-M; Dr. D Ravikumar, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi; A Revanth Reddy, Congress; M Selvaraj, CPI; K Subbarayan, CPI; Dr. Sumathy Thamizhachi Thangapandian, DMK; Tichuri Siva, DMK; Dr Thol Thirumaavalavan, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi; Uttam Kumar Nalamada Reddy, Congress; S Venkatesan CPI-M

Comments

TRENDING

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ram Teri Ganga Maili: How to maintain ethics in a polluted environment?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Is the holy Ganges getting more polluted every day? In addition to daily rituals, bathing, and religious activities performed on its banks, since ancient times, the new age industrial and population pressures are increasingly polluting the holy river. Over the decades a number of government schemes, rules and regulations to purify the Ganges have met with limited success.

Top Punjab Maoist who failed to analyse caste question, promoted economism

By Harsh Thakor*  On June 15th we commemorated the 15th death anniversary of Harbhajan Singh Sohi or HBS, a well known Communist leader in Punjab. He expired of a heart attack in Bathinda in 2009.