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Home / News / India /  Varavara Rao, ailing poet-activist, to be shifted to Mumbai's Nanavati Hospital

The Maharashtra government has agreed to shift poet-activist Varavara Rao, jailed in the Bhima Koregaon case, to the Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai for treatment for 15 days. 81-year-old Rao's family has been allowed to visit him as per the hospital norms.

The Maoist ideologue and revolutionary writer, who was arrested over links in the Elgar Parishad case, had filed a bail application and a writ petition on medical grounds seeking he be shifted to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai immediately, owing to his "diminishing neurological and physical health condition".

However, the Uddhav Thackeray government had said in a medical report that Rao is "fully conscious and oriented" amid concerns of his deteriorating neurological condition.

Following the intervention of a Bombay High Court bench of Justices SS Shinde and Madhav Jamdar, the state said it will shift Rao out of the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai to the Nanavati Hospital for treatment as a "special case" at the Maharashtra government's expense.

State's counsel Deepak Thakre told the Bombay HC that he had taken instructions from Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who said the state had no objection to shifting Rao to the Nanavati Hospital.

Arguing on his behalf, advocate Indira Jaising, said the Rao had sustained head injuries at the JJ Hospital while recounting how the jailed activist had suffered there.

The senior lawyer added: "He (Varavara Rao) is completely bed-ridden, and has no medical attendant. He is in diapers and has a catheter. The catheter was not changed for three months, as there was no one to change it."

"There is a reasonable apprehension that he (Varavara Rao) will die in custody," Jaising said, adding "I am alleging negligence on the part of the state. If the state is unable to look after him, he needs to be shifted to Nanavati Hospital."

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