Hyderabad: The family members of Varavara Rao, Telugu revolutionary poet and a public intellectual, said that Rao’s condition was deteriorating by the day in the jail.

Addressing media persons, they alleged that the police were not taking care of Varavara Rao, who is lodged in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail. For the last six weeks, after he was shifted to JJ Hospital in an unconscious state from the Taloja Jail on May 28, 2020, his condition has been critical, they said.

Three days later, he was discharged from the hospital and sent back to jail but there has been no improvement in his health, they said and added that he still needs emergency healthcare.

“The immediate cause of concern now is that we are perturbed at the routine phone call we received from him on Saturday evening. Though, the earlier two calls, on June 24 and July 2, were also worrying with his weak and muffled voice, in the call made on Saturday, his incoherent speech and abruptly jumping to Hindi makes us worry more. As an eloquent and articulate public speaker and writer in Telugu for over five decades, a Telugu teacher for four decades and known for his meticulous memory, this fumbling, incoherence and loss of memory are in themselves strange and frightening,” said Hemalatha, Varavara Rao’s wife.

“His latest call is more worrisome as he did not answer straight questions on his health and went into a kind of delirious and hallucinated talk about the funeral of his father and mother, events that happened seven decades and four decades ago respectively.  His co-prisoner also said he needs immediate medical care for not only physical but also for neurological issues. The confusion, loss of memory and incoherence are the results of electrolyte imbalance and fall of sodium and potassium levels that can lead to brain damage. The electrolyte imbalance may be fatal too,” added Venugopala Rao, nephew of  Varavara Rao.

“At this juncture, we are leaving aside all the pertinent facts like the case against him was fabricated, he had to spend 22 months in the jail as an under trial, his bail petitions got rejected at least five times even when the grounds cited were his age, ill-health and COVID vulnerability. His life is the top most concern for us right now. Our demand is to save his life. We demand the government to shift him to a better hospital or allow us to provide required medical care.  We want to remind the government that it has no right to deny the right to life of any person, much less an under trial prisoner,” said his daughter Pavani in the press conference.

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