Varavara Rao
Bhima Koregaon violence accused Varavara Rao tests Covid positive.Twitter

Poet-writer Varavara Rao who is currently behind the bars in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence has tested positive for the novel coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, July 16.

The activist was admitted to JJ Hospital on Monday after he complained of dizziness. JJ Hospital Dean Dr Ranjeet Mankeshwar said that he will be shifted to St George Hospital, which has a Covid-19 treatment facility. 

"His treatment is going on," Dr Ranjeet Mankeshwar said.

According to reports, the 80-year old, who is lodged in Taloja central jail, his interim plea citing his susceptibility to the deadly virus was rejected by the special court.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Minister Jitendra Awhad has also demanded that Rao should be shifted to a hospital.

Taking to Twitter, Awhad said, "We are extremely worried about Varvara Rao's health condition. His possession is under the Home Ministry of Central Government and not under the Maharashtra Government. We appeal to the Central Government to urgently shift him to a hospital."

Earlier this month, Varavara Rao's wife and daughters had alerted authorities about his mental health that was evident during a phone call where he referred to his parent's funeral from decades ago. Meanwhile, last week, Rao's family had held a press conference after receiving a call from him from prison.

'80-yr-old can't be a threat to India': Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that an 80-year-old man cannot be a threat to India. Chowdhury, in his letter, also wrote that Rao has been languishing in jail without knowing his offence. "Now he has been mentally disoriented, having no medical assistance. You may please intervene into this matter and save his life," the Congress leader appealed to the PM.

Also in April, about 40 prominent writers wrote to PM Modi requesting Rao's release in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Elgar Parishad case

Varavara Rao was arrested back in 2018 for his alleged role in the Elgar Parishad case. Rao is one of 10 activists arrested in connection with an alleged nexus between Elgar Parishad and Maoist outfits. The case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in January of this year.

However, Rao have alleged that first the Pune Police's and then the National Investigation Agency's charges of him 'trying to incite violence in Bhima Koregaon' are totally false.