MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the NIA and the Maharashtra government to inform it about the health condition of poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoists links case, and if his family could be allowed to see him “from a reasonable distance”.
The directions came after Rao’s lawyer told the court that the activist was “almost on his deathbed”. Rao, 81, is admitted in the Nanavati Hospital here. He tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month and is also suffering from several other ailments.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and S P Tavade asked the NIA and the state to inform the court about Rao’s health condition and clarify by July 22 whether his family members could be permitted to see him. “His condition is very serious,” Rao’s lawyer Sandeep Pasbola told the court. “He suffers from several ailments, he is hallucinating and is delirious,” Pasbola said, adding that if Rao were to die, it should be in the presence of his family.
Meanwhile, a group of 146 academics from across the world appealed for the immediate release of Rao. The signatories include Noam Chomsky, Ania Loomba, Christophe Jaffrelot, and Mukulika Banerjee, among others.
“We join other international scholars in appealing for the immediate release of Varavara Rao and the other Elgar Parishad activists,” the statement said.