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Release Varavara Rao, provide him medical attention

Release Varavara Rao, provide him medical attention
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Release Varavara Rao, provide him medical attention

Highlights

States, from time immemorial, have always repressed people who spoke against the exploitations of the poor, the downtrodden and the underprivileged.

States, from time immemorial, have always repressed people who spoke against the exploitations of the poor, the downtrodden and the underprivileged. Thousands of people who spoke for the people and fought for their justice were jailed, executed, tortured and put to umpteen privations. And the most cruel and inhuman treatment of revolutionary writers and human right activists still continues unabated. The latest victim of this State tyranny is

octogenarian poet and activist Varavara Rao, who has been jailed for the past two years in connection with an apparently cooked up Elgar Parishad case. Rao, who has been put behind bars in Navi Mumbai's Taloja Prison was moved to JJ Hospital last week due to his deteriorating health. Rao who has been tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday, is reportedly suffering from dementia and other fatal ailments and needs urgent and quality medical attention. Despite his family members, fans and followers crying foul over the authorities' callousness in denying proper healthcare to the ailing revolutionary poet, he has been kept under incarceration in most repulsive conditions. This clearly exposes the authorities' cold-hearted oppression of human rights activists and poets who rigorously fight for the have nots.

When his family tried to visit him at the JJ Hospital, they found that everything was not hunky-dory as the jail and hospital authorities have claimed. According to his family members, Rao was found lying in an "inhumane condition" in a pool of urine in a transit ward with no treatment or attendant. According to reports, his family was thrown out of hospital by its staff when the poet's nephew tried to change his urine-soaked bed sheets. It may be remembered that Rao's lawyers tried to get him bail several times over the past 22 months, on the grounds of his ill health. Rao, along with nine other activists were arrested for their alleged link with Maoists by Pune police who later transferred the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), an elite Central agency in January this year. Born in a village in Telangana's Warangal district in 1940, Rao has grown up to a well-known poet from a very early age. Deeply influenced by Marxist ideology, Rao was instrumental in the formation of the Viplava Rachayitala Sangham (Revolutionary Writers' Association), popularly known as Virasam, a group of radical writers. As one of the key organisers of Virasam, Rao travelled far and wide in undivided Andhra Pradesh and interacted with poor farmers who were subjected to oppression by feudal lords and the governments and voiced them through his poems and writings. He was arrested several times in the past for his alleged links with outlawed Naxals under various Acts. Rao has many anthologies of poems to his credit and is a major inspiration for human right activists. He was yet again arrested from his house in August 2018 for his alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence under the Prevention of Unlawful Activities (UAPA), along with Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde. Scores of bail petitions on the ground of his failing health have been rejected in the last 22 months. Vararao is understood to be seriously ill and needs advanced treatment. We demand his immediate release.

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