The members of the recently constituted Committee of Experts to assess the Impact of C0VID-I9 pandemic on human rights by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have raised their concerns to H. L. Dattu, Chairman of NHRC about the health status of Varavara Rao, a renowned poet, writer who has been kept in Taloja jail for the last 22 months.
The Committee of Experts also urged the Hon’ble Chairperson of the NHRC to demand the parole for medical reasons for Varavara Rao, allowing him to be released from the prison and be handed over to his family, who shall look after his health.
“Varavara Rao may be released on parole on grounds of deteriorating health, his age of more than 80 years, and him being vulnerable to COVID-19, all being strong grounds for his immediate release.”
“He is eighty years of age, runs a very high risk of ailments and getting infected with COVID-19, considering his age and deteriorating health condition, both physical and mental health, he should be released immediately or taken to a healthcare facility immediately,” rights commission’s experts body demanded.
The committee members also said that they understand that NHRC’s monitor for police and prison reform, Maja Daruwala has already brought the urgency of the matter to H.L Dattu’s attention.
“Nevertheless, we, as public health professionals and concerned members of the Committee also add our voices to underline the need for utmost urgency in this matter,” they added.
Committee of Experts to assess the Impact of C0VID-I9 also requests that the NHRC take suo motu cognizance of the pathetic state of affairs in the Taloja prison, where Rao is incarcerated for the last 22 months, and urge you to direct the jail authorities to act to safeguard Rao’s life without any delay as well as explain why 80-year-old jailed poet has not already been taken to the hospital for urgent medical treatment?