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Poet-activist Varavara Rao granted medical bail; ‘it’s duty to protect human rights’ : Bombay HC

The 81-year-old poet-activist, Varavara Rao who has been in jail for over two years in the Koregaon-Bhima case, is granted medical bail for six months by the Bombay High Court. He is undergoing treatment at Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital where he was admitted by the Maharashtra government following the high court’s intervention.

Mr Rao has been asked by the court to remain in Mumbai. He is also asked to be available for further investigation whenever needed. He should submit his passport before the NIA (National Investigation Agency) court, and during his bail he is forbidden to establish any contact with his co-accused. He has to submit a personal bond of ? 50,000 and two sureties of the same amount.

Since August 28, 2018 he has been in custody. The high court said if it did not grant Mr Rao a medical bail, it would be abdicating its duty to protect the principles of human rights, and a citizen’s fundamental rights to life and health.

His lawyer, Indira Jaising had earlier highlighted his poor health condition before the Bombay High Court. She urged the court to let out Mr Rao from Maharashtra’s Taloja prison where he is lodged as an undertrial. Indira also asked the court to permit him to stay with his family in Hyderabad.

The case probed by the National Investigation Agency, involves allegations of inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. The speech was later said to have led to the violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial the next day.

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