The Bombay High Court denied bail for Varavara Rao, a poet and activist who has been in jail for over two years for the Koregaon-Bhima case, despite his deteriorating health. His family has repeatedly emphasised the need for better care as he is currently bed-ridden and cannot take care of himself.
Varavara Rao is 80 years old, and has been in Taloja jail since January 2018. He was charged under the UAPA that allows for detention without trial for a long time. During his time in jail, his health conditions worsened. Now, he cannot leave his bed, and requires diapers and a urine bag. Moreover, he already suffered from COVID-19. Despite the lawyer Indira Jaising clearly stating this evidence, the court agreed to only assessing his health through a video conference. Doctors of the Nanavati hospital who tended to Rao and made the report on July 30 will be there for this medical exam too. After that, they will hear the case on November 17.
However, according to Jaising, Rao’s health condition may make it impossible to stand for trials. He also needs to be with his family. Moreover, the jail does not have the same infrastructure of a super-specialty hospital like Nanavati to treat Rao.
Bail denied to Rao despite terrible health – but personal liberty for Goswami
The family also stated that keeping him in jail in such a terrible condition is a violation of Article 21 of the constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty. Support for Rao also erupted after the Supreme Court released Arnab Goswami on bail on the grounds of personal liberty despite there being evidence of his crime. Similar enraged support came for Stan Swamy, Rao’s co-accused, who has Parkison’s. Unfortunately, the court does not seem to want to budge.
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