MUMBAI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Maharashtra government to shift the 81-year-old poet and activist Varavara Rao to a private super specialty hospital for further treatment.
Varavara Rao, who was lodged in Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai for his alleged role in violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, tested Covid-19 positive on July 14.
After his health deteriorated, Rao was shifted to Sir JJ Hospital for treatment. However, he was relocated to Saint George hospital after being tested Covid-19 positive.
Dr. Akash Khobragade, Superintendent of the Saint George hospital, said that Rao was brought from Sir JJ hospital to Saint George (Covid hospital) at 8.30 PM on Thursday. “We have taken the ECG and X-ray, all are normal. Rao has been having neurological problems. The CT scan will be done and the required treatment will be started in our hospital,” Khobragade told The New Indian Express.
Another doctor in the hospital said that Rao had his breakfast and meal. “Sometimes he speaks very incoherently. It is due to the age factor and other health reasons that we are trying to find out,” he added.
The rights panel said Maharashtra government should provide Rao the best possible treatment in a reputed super specialty private hospital without any further delay. “The Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, is expected to look into the matter personally to ensure that Rao is shifted to the best possible Covid hospital. Rao is an undertrial prisoner presently in the custody of the State. Hence, the government must ensure that all the expenditure of the medical treatment of Rao to be borne by the State being his lawful custodian,” the panel mentioned in the order.
It has also asked the chief secretary to submit the compliance report. “Rao's health is deteriorating and the authorities are ignoring his condition. It was also brought to the notice of the commission that when Rao's family members visited him in Sir JJ Hospital, they were shocked to see that Rao was lying in the transit ward in a pool of urine on the bed and was incoherent. He could not recognize his wife and daughters immediately.”
“The nurses in the hospital told the family members that there was no equipment or treatment available for the patient in the transit ward. The persons above 60 with comorbidities are more vulnerable if they are Covid positive. When he has been tested positive, danger to his life has grown bigger which is a matter of concern for the Commission,” reads the order.