Elghar Parishad case: Telugu poet P Varavara Rao admitted to JJ Hospital

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Mumbai: The family members of Dr. P Varavara Rao (81), a Telugu writer and poet, who is lodged at Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail in connection with the 2018 Elgar Parishad case, has expressed concern about his worsening health condition and the authorities’ bid to scuttle his bail plea again.

They are apprehensive that JJ Hospital, where he was taken for a battery of medical tests owing to his advanced age on Monday afternoon, might hurriedly release him before his bail plea comes up for hearing on Friday to reinforce that his health condition is not as worse as it made out to be.

They released a statement on Tuesday morning, pleading to the hospital authorities to ensure that he is not released until he recovers and no attempt should be made to discharge him hurriedly.

“Dr. Rao was shifted to JJ Hospital from Taloja Jail on Monday afternoon. He was undergoing various tests until midnight. Hospital officials reportedly said that he was brought in for an evaluation and did not confirm whether he was going to be admitted. He may be kept in the hospital until the results are made available in a couple of days,” the statement read.

Dr. Rao’s family members have alleged that the authorities did not provide any information to them about his health condition, including when he was taken to the hospital on Monday afternoon.

“Though it was mandatory to inform the family about these developments, neither government nor jail, police, hospital authorities provided any information to us,” the statement added.

On May 28, Dr. Rao was taken to the hospital after he had lost consciousness. Later, he was discharged on June 1.

At that time, the family members had alleged that he was hurriedly discharged in a bid to obstruct his bail plea before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, which was rejected on June 26.

The NIA, which had taken over the Elgar Parishad case from Pune Police in February, had opposed the bail plea, as Dr. Rao was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, where there is no provision to grant him temporary bail.

NIA had submitted that the jail authorities could be directed to ensure that Dr. Rao was provided proper medical attention, whenever required.

Earlier, on January 1, 2018, violence erupted between Dalits and Marathas near the village of Bhima Koregaon in Pune district, where thousands of Dalits had gathered to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon.

In that battle, the British Army’s Dalit Mahar soldiers had defeated the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha empire.

The commemoration took place a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was held.

The Pune Police conducted a preliminary probe and claimed that the violence in Bhima Koregaon was the result of speeches made at the Elgar Parishad event.

They alleged that banned Maoist groups organised the event, and a first information report (FIR) was also filed.

In June 2018, the Pune Police arrested five activists and lawyers from Pune, Nagpur, and Delhi – Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, and Shoma Sen – for their alleged links to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and also for organising the Elgar Parishad event.

In August 2018, the police arrested four more activists – Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, and Dr. Rao.

While Gautam Navlakha and Dr. Anand Teltumbde were arrested on April 14 this year, taking the total number of the accused in the case to 11.

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