Test us for COVID-19, jailed activists Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves tell Bombay HC

Currently lodged in Taloja prison, the two activists said that they were in in 'proximity' with Varvara Rao who gas tested positive for coronavirus

Press Trust of India July 17, 2020 23:28:52 IST
Test us for COVID-19, jailed activists Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves tell Bombay HC

Mumbai: Activists Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, accused in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case, have approached the Bombay High Court after co-accused and Telugu poet Varavara Rao tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Teltumbde and Gonsalves, currently lodged in Taloja prison, have sought that they too be tested for the infection.
Rao has been moved to St George Hospital near CST.

In their plea through senior counsel Mihir Desai, Teltumbde and Gonsalves have said that they should be tested since they were in "proximity" with Rao.

The plea is likely to be taken up for hearing on Monday, Desai said.

The petitioners said there exists a "grave risk" to their lives, as they are under imminent threat of contracting coronavirus or they might have already contracted the same since they had been in close contact with Rao.

As per the plea, Gonsalves was assigned the duty of being Rao's aide in the prison by the authorities.

He helped Rao with his daily chores since the poet was fighting for his life, battling ill health for months, the plea said.

Teltumbde has further said that he too was admitted in the jail hospital during the time that Rao was kept there earlier this month, and, therefore, he must be tested for coronavirus.

Gonsalves and Teltumbde also suffer from hypertension and various chronic illnesses, respectively, and thus, run a greater risk of contracting the virus, the plea said.

"The petitioners are high risk category candidates as both of them are senior citizens with underlying health ailments," the plea read.

Both activists have urged the court to ensure COVID-19 tests are conducted as soon as possible, and they be kept in isolation in jail where physical distancing is possible.

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