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Test Us for Coronavirus, Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves Tell Bombay High Court

File photo: Activist and scholar Anand Teltumbde arrives to surrender before the NIA  in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

File photo: Activist and scholar Anand Teltumbde arrives to surrender before the NIA in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

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.

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