Eminent poets from all parts of the country including Gulzar have sought the immediate release of Varavara Rao, imprisoned in Maharashtra as an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. In a representation submitted to Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, the poets sought the release of the 80-year old Rao in view of the health emergency in the country on account of the spread of Covid-19.

A copy of the representation has also been submitted to Maharashtra Chief Minister Sri Udhav Thackery and National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice HL Duttu. “Sri. Varavara Rao, renowned poet, writer and harbinger of change in modern Telugu poetry, eighty years of age, runs very high risk of ailment considering his age, deteriorating health and the crowding situation in jail. Sri. Vernon Gonsalves, a fellow prisoner, had sent a message to the advocate drawing attention to the worrisome health condition of Sri. Rao. In this context, we see the plea for help with utmost concern”, a representation signed by 40 poets from all over the country said.

“Therefore, we, poets from various languages in India, request the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to release poet Varavara Rao urgently and save his life”.

The poets also requested the Prime Minister to consider the release of all other detainees in high risk category, in the light of the pandemic.

Full Text of the Letter

Request to the Prime Minister of India for the release of Poet Sri. Varavara Rao

Respected Prime Minister of India,

Our country is in a crucial moment of facing one of the harshest crises in its history. The corona virus outbreak has brought to us a herculean burden in addition to the current socio-political and economic challenges. At this moment, there are several sections of the people who need attention, care and support to survive. One such group is the prisoners, who due to the nature of prison life, are subject to high risk.

A touching plea has been made on behalf of poet Sri. Varavara Rao who is in prison since November 2018. He, along with nine other public intellectuals were implicated and charged under various provisions of UAPA in the Bhima Koregaon case. There have been ongoing national and international campaigns demanding justice for the accused and that bail be granted to them. It has been argued that the cases against them are framed as part of the move to crush voices of dissent and criticism against the government and those in power.

Sri. Varavara Rao, renowned poet, writer and harbinger of change in modern Telugu poetry, eighty years of age, runs very high risk of ailment considering his age, deteriorating health and the crowding situation in jail. Sri. Vernon Gonsalves, a fellow prisoner, had sent a message to the advocate drawing attention to the worrisome health condition of Sri. Rao. In this context, we see the plea for help with utmost concern.

Therefore, we, poets from various languages in India, request the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to release poet Varavara Rao urgently and save his life.

We also request the Prime Minister to consider the release of all other detainees in high risk category, in the light of the pandemic.

With utmost trust in truth and justice,

Sincerely

  1. Gulzar (Urdu/Panjabi)
  2. Ashok Vajpeyi (Hindi)
  3. Mangalesh Dabral (Hindi)
  4. Satchidanandan (Malayalam)
  5. K Sivareddy (Telugu)
  6. K G Sankara Pillai (Malayalam)
  7. Yumlembam Ibomcha (Manipuri)
  8. Robin Ngangom (English/Manipuri)
  9. Mamang Dai (Adi/English)
  10. Chandrakant Patil(Marathi/Hindi)
  11. Gauhar Raza (Urdu)
  12. Keki M Daruwalla (English)
  13. Prabodh Parikh (Gujarati)
  14. Sukumaran (Tamil)
  15. Jeet Thayil (English)
  16. Prathibha Nandakumar (Kannada)
  17. Naveen Vasireddi (Telugu)
  18. V M Girija (Malayalam)
  19. Hemant Divate (Marathi)
  20. Nilim Kumar (Assamese)
  21. Tarannum Riyaz (Urdu)
  22. Arambam Memchoubi (Manipuri)
  23. Subodh Sarkar(Bengali)
  24. P P Ramachandran (Malayalam)
  25. E V Ramakrishnan (English)
  26. Rafeeq Ahamed (Malayalam)
  27. Salma (Tamil)
  28. Menka Shivdasani (English)
  29. K R Tony (Malayalam)
  30. S Joseph (Malayalam)
  31. Anvar Ali (Malayalam)
  32. Anitha Thampi (Malayalam)
  33. Jiban Narah (Assamese)
  34. Anubhav Tulasi (Assamese)
  35. Monica Kumar (Hindi/Panjabi)
  36. N. Gopikrishnan (Malayalam)
  37. Mamta Sagar (Kannada)
  38. Kutti Revathi (Tamil)
  39. Meena Kandasamy (English)
  40. Sridala Swami (English)

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