81-year-old poet-activist Varavara Rao, who has been behind bars since 2018 in the Elgaar Parishad case has tested positive for COVID-19.
Rao had to be shifted to Mumbai’s JJ Hospital on Monday amidst serious concerns about his deteriorating health. He was lodged in Tajola Central Jail in Navi Mumbai.
His family members had said that Rao’s memory was fading rapidly and he was remembering incidents that took place several decades ago.
In 2018, Pune Police had arrested Varavara Rao from Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha from Delhi, lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj from Haryana and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonzalves from Maharashtra. These activists were arrested for their alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January 2018. Violence erupted during the Elgaar Parishad event, organised to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Koregaon. The date is observed by Dalit groups in memory of what they consider was their victory over the upper caste Peshwas.
Meanwhile, Twitterati have exploded in anger after the news of Rao testing positive for coronavirus came in.
For the last 2 yrs, he has been in jail. For the last 2 yrs, the trial hasn’t event started.
— Umar Khalid (@UmarKhalidJNU) July 16, 2020
When a nation fears its senior citizens then citizens should fear for the nation. – said no one https://t.co/KG96koMdeW
— Ram Subramanian (@VORdotcom) July 16, 2020
RSS-BJP played its game. https://t.co/bg8fAlgC3E
— Jaidev Laghari (@jaidev_laghari) July 16, 2020
Oh God no.
This one is on the government, they kept him in jail knowing his health condition. https://t.co/xoCXmAp515
— Farhana فرحانہ (@FarhanaCvg) July 16, 2020