Indian doctors peacefully protested on June 1st against the statements made by Baba Ramdev.
Earlier in May 2021, a video from Baba Ramdev went viral where he stated that modern allopathy medicine is a “stupid and failed science”. He even went on to say that “the COVID-19 patients died more because of allopathic medication than the lack of oxygen cylinders” and “fatalities caused by COVID-19 virus were not solved by allopathy”. These comments made by the Yoga Guru hurt the sentiments of many of the doctors, as they are working around the clock to save the lives of many infected patients.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) called for arresting Baba Ramdev on charges of sedition under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. They also provided a six-page defamation notice demanding an apology from him within 15 days, failing which it said the association will demand compensation of Rs 1,000 crore from the yoga guru.
“It is stated that the accused being a businessman, in order to take advantage of the present situation and his large public following, is willfully and deliberately advancing dishonest representations… about allopathy and modern medicine… and to swindle them into parting with their monies by taking Swami Ramdev’s unapproved and dubious drugs,” the IMA said in a 14-page complaint sent to the IP Estate Police Station.
The IMA even demanded that the Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan take action against Ramdev by stating that he either accepts Ramdev’s statement and dissolve the modern medical facility or book him under the Epidemics Disease Act. The Union Health Minister asked Baba Ramdev to withdraw the “extremely unfortunate” statement. Baba Ramdev took back what he said and apologised for it. However, a day later, Ramdev released a set of 25 questions asking the IMA if allopathic medicine was effective against conditions like hypertension, diabetes, arthritis etc and questioned the efficacy of allopathic medicine.
“I respect allopathy and allopathic doctors; their contribution is immense to the medical field and society. Our drive is not against them but those who sell medicines at exorbitant prices and treat patients as revenue-earning customers. We are against those who unnecessarily recommend medical tests, operations and costly drugs while the patient doesn’t require them at all,” said Ramdev.
The Federation for Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) also supported the IMA’s objection by asking to press charges against Baba Ramdev. Senior members of FORDA went on to say that his “slanderous” comments have the potential to incite violence against the healthcare workers” and have made people hesitant towards vaccines.
On June 1st, 2021, doctors all over the country observed a “Black Day” by peacefully protesting against the derogatory remarks made by the Yoga Guru. These protests were conducted without hampering any of the healthcare services. The doctors wore black ribbons and bands and wrote the slogans “BlackDay” and “#ArrestBabaRamdev” on their PPE suits as they continued to provide help for the various patients who were still in the wards.
Before this incident, the Indian Medical Association had released a press statement regarding the claims made by yoga guru Ramdev that the Coronil medicine launched by Patanjali Ayurved has DCGI approval and WHO certification. The IMA also posed a series of questions to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan as he was present during the launch of the Coronil Ayurvedic medicine.