Activist Varavara Rao. Image Courtesy: Twitter
Hyderabad: Poet-activist Varavara Rao, who has been in jail in Maharashtra in the Elgar Parishad case, was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai, police said, while his family members on Saturday demanded his immediate release on bail.
"It is learnt that Sri Varavara Rao has been admitted to JJ Hospital at Mumbai while in judicial custody. The matter is being informed to family members and necessary passes are being issued by DCP CZ for family to travel to Mumbai. We are coordinating with agencies at Mumbai," Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar tweeted.
The 80-year-old Rao is currently lodged at the Taloja jail at Navi Mumbai.
Rao's wife Hemalatha in a statement on Saturday expressed serious concern over his health condition.
The family came to know from police in Hyderabad on Friday night that he was admitted to hospital, she said.
The information available to the family about his health and the sequence of events preceding his admission to hospital in Mumbai is unclear, she said.
".. meanwhile, the statement by Telangana police officials that they would make arrangements for the family to visit Mumbai, is much more worrying," she said.
On her part, she is not in a position to travel to Mumbai right now as she is 72 years old and not in good health.
A legal attempt to get permission for the family to meet him is being undertaken in Mumbai, she said.
"It is enough if the government gives permission needed in the context of COVID-19 and we take care of our travel arrangements."
She requested the Centre and the governments of Maharashtra and Telangana to arrange a video conference with him immediately to enable the family members to know the actual status of his health condition.
As Varavara Rao has already undergone 18 months of incarceration on "fabricated charges and without any trial," he should be released immediately on bail, Hemalatha said.
Saying that Rao had pre-existing health issues like coronary artery disease and hypertension, she said a thorough medical examination should be done by an expert team of doctors to ascertain what led to the "present emergency."
The Union Home Ministry should direct the National Investigation Agency to give up the "vindictive" attitude towards Rao and other co-accused.
Union Minister of State (Home) G Kishan Reddy, a Telugu person, should take this responsibility, she said.
"It is the responsibility of the Telangana government to take care of Varavara Rao's health and security as he took part in the separate Telangana agitation since 1969 as a worthy son of Telangana," she added.
Expressing concern over Rao's health, former Communist Party of India general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy sought his release and shifting him to a hospital in Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, Minister Reddy, who addressed a video press conference from Delhi, said he would act as per law.
"Definitely, we want the health of all to be good. We will think as to what help we can do as per law. It is not a matter to be stated openly. We always have a humanitarian approach. We will think accordingly," he said.
Reddy was asked about an appeal reportedly made by Rao’s daughter that he and the Telangana government should help him in getting bail as the Maharashtra government was allegedly opposing it.
Eleven people, including Rao, have been arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case which was transferred to the NIA by the Centre in January.
The case relates 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 Pune police also claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists.