Telugu poet-activist Varavara Rao, who tested positive for the coronavirus on July 16, was shifted from Mumbai’s St George Hospital to Nanavati Hospital on Sunday, Hindustan Times reported. Rao has been imprisoned in Taloja jail in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
St George Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Akash Khobragade told the newspaper that Rao was moved to Nanavati Hospital at 1 am for neurological and urological care. He added that Rao didn’t have any coronavirus-related complications.
Rao was first moved to JJ Hospital from Taloja jail on Monday. Thousands of people had urged the authorities to let him get proper medical care, amid reports of his deteriorating health. The poet-activist is 81.
On Friday, the National Human Rights Commission had sent notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General (Prisons), Maharashtra, over Rao’s worsening health. The NHRC asked the authorities to submit a report on Rao’s health within two weeks.
Rao has been lodged at the Taloja jail since his arrest on August 31, 2018, and is still awaiting trial. Last week, Rao’s family held a press conference during which they expressed grave concern about his failing health. Rao’s family said that he was hallucinating in jail and failing to perform even basic chores.
Activists Vernon Gonsalves and Anand Teltumbde, who are Rao’s follow inmates at Taloja Jail, had on Friday filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, asking that they be tested for the coronavirus since they had close contact with him in jail. The activists’ petition stated that they were in the high coronavirus risk group because of their age and underlying health conditions.
Rao, Teltumbde and Gonsalves are among the people who are accused of making inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the authorities claim triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial the next day.