The NHRC also asked the authorities to submit a report regarding Varavara Rao’s health within two weeks.

Varavara RaoVirasam/Facebook
news Human Rights Friday, July 17, 2020 - 19:07

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General (Prisons) in Maharashtra to constitute a medical board to examine the health condition of ailing poet and prisoner Varavara Rao, and to monitor if appropriate medical care is provided to him. The NHRC also asked the authorities to submit a report regarding Varavara Rao’s health within two weeks.

The medical board would decide as to which hospital could provide the best medical treatment for the undertrial political prisoner. 

Taking cognizance of the allegations that Varavara Rao was ill-treated at JJ Hospital and that he could not recognize his family members when they visited him, the NHRC said that the developments in the matter are ‘serious in nature’ and that they are considering all the facts minutely. 

“It is established that the persons above the age of 60 years with co-morbidities are more vulnerable if they are COVID positive. The health condition of Rao, as mentioned in the various communications, was already worrisome and now when he has been tested positive for the COVID-19, danger to his life has grown bigger, which is a matter of concern for the Commission. It is a question of saving a precious human life leaving apart the legal aspect of the matter. It is, therefore, necessary that the state government should provide Rao with the best possible treatment in a reputed super speciality private hospital without any further delay,” the Commission said.  

The Commission directed the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra personally to ensure that Varavara Rao is shifted to the best possible COVID hospital by Thursday itself. 

As Varavara Rao is an undertrial prisoner under the custody of the state, the government must ensure that all the expenditure of the medical treatment be borne by the state, the Commission said.

81-year-old Varavara Rao was imprisoned in Taloja jail, accused of plotting the assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also booked for the Bhima Koregaon violence. 

As his health rapidly deteriorated, he was admitted to Mumbai’s JJ Hospital. On Thursday, after a medical examination, he was tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

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