Activist Varavara Rao's family has written to the Maharashtra government seeking "regular and transparent" information of his health. They have alleged that they have been denied the basic update on his health by the hospital and prison authorities for the last 12 days.
Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, had tested positive for COVID-19.
The family on July 25 had moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking a direction to the Mumbai hospital where he is being treated, as well as prison authorities to provide "transparent" updates on the status of his health and treatment, reported India Today.
"We are compelled to write this letter to you, as we are denied any information about his health condition or treatment at Nanavati Hospital for the last twelve days. We are extremely worried and anxious to know about his health. We are writing to you since he is lodged in jail under your ministry as an under-trial prisoner and it is your bounden duty to look after his well-being," Varavara Rao's family said in the letter to the Maharashtra government home ministry on Monday, July 27.
"You should appreciate that we as family of an ailing, 80-year old prisoner admitted in a hospital as a tested positive COVID patient, have every right to know about his status and line of treatment. It is not only our legal right, but also a right based on principles of natural justice. We hope you will understand the anxiety of a family who is kept in dark for 12 days when a member is lodged in a hospital in a grave condition," the letter read.
According to Rao's family, the only official update they received from the time he was shifted out of Taloja Jail to JJ Hospital, later to St George's Hospital and then to Nanavati Hospital was that he had tested positive for COVID-19 on July 16.
"We have been calling Nanavati Hospital also every day since July 20 but received no response from them. We contacted the PRO of Nanavati Hospital on July 21. In response to our message to the hospital authorities [PRO of Nanavati Hospital], we were informed on July 26 that the hospital has been updating the jail authorities regularly about his health," Varavara Rao's family said in the letter.
"We, therefore, request you to direct Taloja jail authorities or Nanavati Hospital to provide regular updates on Mr Rao's health status, the diagnosis of his health problems and line of treatment to us. Is Mr Rao doing well? Given his age and ailments, what is the impact of Covid-19 on his health? We have many questions and doubts lingering in our minds. We believe, as Mr Rao's family, we should have access to information about his health, according to the law of the land and medical ethics," the letter said.