Varavara Rao tests positive for coronavirus at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital

According to reports, Rao will either be shifted to GT Hospital or St George Hospital.

Activist and poet Varavara Rao, who is currently in jail in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case, has been found positive for coronavirus.

He is currently undergoing treatment, said Dr Ranjeet Mankeshwar, dean of JJ Hospital, adding that ” he is stable and will be shifted to another hospital”. Mankeshwar said that he will be shifted to a designated COVID-19 hospital as JJ Hospital is a non-COVID centre.

According to reports, Rao will either be shifted to GT Hospital or St George Hospital. Moreover, another co-accused and jail inmate, Vernon Gonsalves, is now at serious risk of contracting COVID-19.

Rao had been taken to the state-run JJ Hospital in Mumbai on Monday after he complained of dizziness. Rao, 80, has been behind bars for almost two years and lodged at the Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

The family members of the activist had expressed their concerns about his declining health in the past. They had also requested the jail authorities to provide him immediate medical care.

Rao and nine other activists have been arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, which was initially probed by the Pune Police and later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in January this year.

The case related to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial.

The police have also claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.


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