Telugu, Wheel Chair and Blanket: How Jail Broke Poet Varavara Rao

In this phone call, Rao said that, his wife’s dead body was taken for post-mortem. Many people are present there.

During this call made in June 2020, Varvara Rao’s wife P Hemlata listened to him on the phone for 5 minutes. She could not understand what Varavara Rao was saying.

His dead body was taken to the cremation ground. Why would they use chemicals on that? Rao narrated a fictional experience regarding the funeral. Please tell that 67-year-old Hemlata, Rao’s wife, is alive and lives in Hyderabad.

Varvara Rao has been ill for 1 year

While imprisoned in jail, Varvara Rao has lost 20 kilograms of weight and is suffering from brain problems. His family came to know about this in May 2020, when he became ill after 2 months of going to jail.

Now Varvara Rao has got bail on medical grounds. Varvara Rao is awaiting discharge from Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai and release order from jail.

How the 80-year-old stunning writer broke down, who was jailed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Bhima Koregaon violence case of 2018.

‘Blanket Shortage’

Prior to the arrest of Varvara Rao in this case, he was kept under house arrest for two months. After which the Mumbai Police arrested him under the UAPA during the then Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra. Varvara Rao was kept in Yerwada Jail.

Initially Rao was competing well in jail. Because he had gone to jail many times before. He has written one of his book ‘Chand Muse’ based on his experience in prison.

Varavara Rao, accustomed to the atmosphere of Telangana, had to face troubles in winter in Maharashtra. Rao had asked for a blanket in the jail, but was not given to him at first.

Varvar Rao’s daughter Pavana The quint Told that they requested the jail authority to demand the blanket, but when no solution was found, they went to court and they were given the blanket 2 months after the court order.

Throughout the winter, Varvara Rao had only one blanket. Isn’t this a political prisoner neglect? During his 1-year imprisonment in Yerwada jail, Rao did mostly writing and reading in English.

Pawna told that ‘Varvara Rao used to keep himself busy in jail. But things changed completely due to the shift to Taloja Jail.

NIA, Lockdown and Trouble

Assembly elections were being held in Maharashtra when Varvara Rao was in Yerwada Jail. In the 2019 assembly elections, a coalition government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress was formed. After this, the Center intervened and asked to hand over the case of Bhima Koregaon violence to the National Security Agency.

Due to a court order for jails across the country, the family could not get in touch with Varvara Rao. Rao could not meet the family from March 2020 to May 2020.

Varvara Rao’s daughter said that, due to not having Telugu books, she slowly started speaking Hindi. He spoke to his mother in Hindi and we could not understand anything. But when he started saying about the death of his mother that we understood that something was wrong. St. George’s Hospital made it clear that Rao is suffering from mental illness.

Press conference for wheel chair

Rao’s daughter further revealed that, Vernon Gonzalvis, who is in jail with Rao on charges of Bhima Koregaon violence, always told him to do something soon.

Our family convened a press conference in July 2020. In which it was said that in Taloja jail, Varvara Rao has not been given a wheel chair and a bed to use. He was ill but the jail administration refused to give him medical facilities.

After the court order, Gonzalvis was shifted to Varvara Rao’s cell for help. After this, after the intervention of Maharashtra government, he was sent to Nanavati Hospital.

The family of Varvara Rao told that in Taloja Jail, the people who took care of Rao. He had several times requested the jail administration to provide wheel chair to Rao. Rao was very old in prison and was like a father to many prisoners.

Pawna said that, for his bail, the family appealed more than 6 times, out of which 4 were appealed to bail him on the medical ground. But all appeals were rejected.

Will they have to go back to jail? In response to this question, his family feels that he will not be able to remain in prison again.

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