Jailed Indian poet, Varavara Rao contracts COVID-19

Varavara Rao

Varavara Rao, an 80-year-old Indian poet has contracted Covid-19 in prison is causing increasing outrage in India.

Before he was imprisoned, Varavara Rao was a Maoist ideologue and poet who has espoused radical thinking and revolutionary ideas in his work.

Rao has been in jail for a little over two years for allegedly inciting caste violence. He has strongly denied the allegations and no charges have been formally brought against him.

According to the BBC, Mr Rao’s family said he was delirious and being held in terrible conditions.

They said that when they tried to visit him at a state hospital earlier this week, they found him on a soiled bed soaked in urine with no-one around to attend to him. Local media reported that Mr Rao had been unable to recognise his wife and daughters.

His coronavirus diagnosis came a day later.

Mr Rao was admitted to the hospital only after his family issued a statement and held an emergency press conference alleging that he was being denied proper medical attention despite his rapidly deteriorating health, and the subsequent outrage.


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