Mumbai

Kin meet Varavara Rao via video conferencing

Varavara Rao. File

Varavara Rao. File  

Poet Varavara Rao’s family has been able to meet him after two weeks through video conferencing, as he is being treated for COVID-19 at Nanavati Hospital.

On July 28, the Bombay High Court permitted the family to meet him after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the Bhima Koregaon case told the court it had no problem if the family talked to him or met him.

On July 31, a video conference call was arranged for the family by the hospital subject to the hospital’s protocols and government’s norms in respect of COVID-19 patients.

Mr. Rao’s wife Hemalata and daughters Sahaja, Anala and Pavana interacted with him for about 20 minutes and said he looked much more frail and weak and his physical condition did not seem to be well.

The family said his psychological status was worrying and he did not answer many questions on his health directly. Much of his talk was from his subconscious memories from decades ago, but not related to the present. Thus, his disorientation, confusion, loss of memory, inability to grasp the present and incoherence seemed to continue still.

On July 11, Mr. Rao called the family from Taloja Central Jail, where he has been incarcerated for months after being shifted from Yerwada jail. He was arrested on August 28, 2018 and charged under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

His family said he spoke about his parents’ death that took place decades ago. He was seven years old when his father died, and his mother died in 1981. He started talking about his mother’s funeral and said about 6,000 people had come for it.

After he tested positive for COVID-19 on July 16, Mr Rao was shifted to St George Hospital. A day later, Akash Khobragade, the Superintendent there, had said, “Mr. Rao is doing absolutely fine as far as COVID-19 is concerned; however some neurological tests are being conducted and we are looking at dementia.”

The High Court is expected to hear his appeal against rejection of interim bail by a special NIA court on August 7 after the hospital submits a report on his medical condition and line of treatment given to him.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 12:25:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/kin-meet-varavara-rao-via-video-conferencing/article32241957.ece

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