Hyderabad: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) served notices to Chief Secretary and the Director General Prisons in Maharashtra, in connection with the health condition of the Hyderabad-based poet and writer P. Varavara Rao.
The NHRC asked them to submit a report within two weeks on the matter. There were several communications received earlier, informing that Rao’s health condition was deteriorating and that the authorities were ignoring the issue. His health condition had already been worrisome and now that he has tested positive for Covid-19, danger to his life has grown bigger which is a matter of concern.
In view of these, “the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra is expected to look into the matter personally to ensure that Rao is shifted to the best possible Covid hospital today itself. As he is an under trial prisoner presently in the custody of the state, the government must ensure that all the expenditure of the medical treatment would be borne by the state being his lawful custodian. The Chief Secretary is expected to submit the compliance report, immediately,” the NHRC said.
The CS was also directed to submit the requisite report earlier asked for by the commission, within the stipulated time.
The commission was acting on a complaint from Maja Daruwala, a special monitor of the commission, regarding the difficulties faced by Varavara Rao, who was lodged at Taloja jail in Mumbai.
Daruwala mentioned that the 81-year-old was suffering from many ailments due to which his health condition was deteriorating. He is also unable to walk and the jail authorities are allegedly not providing him the requisite healthcare, he complained.
Earlier, the NHRC had directed that a medical board be constituted to examine the health condition of Varavara Rao and to see whether the treatment being provided to him was appropriate. The commission had also mentioned that the board was expected to decide as to which hospital, whether government or private, the writer will get the best treatment. Rao was shifted to JJ hospital two days ago and he also tested Covid-19 positive on Thursday.
One of the communications the commission received mentioned that when Rao’s family visited him at JJ hospital, they were shocked to see him lying in a pool of urine on the bed in the transit ward and was still incoherent.
He could not recognize his wife and daughters and were also told by the hospital staff that there was no equipment or treatment available to be given to the patient in the transit ward. Following these communications, the commission issued fresh directions to the state government.