What happened between Baba Ramdev and the IMA?

Conflicts May 31, 2021

On May 8, the Vice President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr. Navjot Singh Dahiya, filed a complaint at the Jalandhar police station seeking strict action against the yoga guru Ramdev. This comes in response to the viral video where Baba Ramdev claimed that patients just didn't know how to breathe properly and were spreading negativity by complaining of a shortage of oxygen. Dr. Dahiya further accused him of using ‘defamatory and insulting language towards doctors’.

The Swami has been in a spat with the Indian Medical Association for a while now. Earlier, a media statement by the IMA had urged the Union Health Ministry to take action and prosecute Ramdev under the Epidemic Diseases Act as he misled people by making "unlearned" statements and defamed scientific medicine, and further claiming that Ramdev had called doctors “murderers” in front of the Health Minister himself during the release of his "wonder drugs", and that Remdesivir and other injections being used for COVID-19 treatment lead to deaths.

On February 19th, he claimed that the Coronil tablet received certification according to the World Health Organization's certification scheme from the Ayush Ministry as a medicine supporting Covid-19 treatment. The WHO stated that it did not review or certify the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for Covid-19 treatment.

This led to the IMA expressing their shock over the "blatant lie of WHO certification", demanding an explanation from Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, in whose presence the medicine was launched.

Dr. Dahiya, an orthopedician,  mentioned that Ramdev’s advice to do ‘Anulom vilom Pranayama’ and ‘Kapalbhati Pranayama’ in case of oxygen deficiency violated the directions issued by the government regarding the code of conduct along and other orders of the relevant authorities. He stated that in this way, Baba Ramdev becomes liable to be punished under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act of 2005 and the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897. Moreover, Ramdev’s statements against the medical fraternity can erode people’s confidence in the government and health workers.

FAIMA (the Federation of All India Medical Association) also sent Ramdev a legal notice targeting his 'baseless and unscrupulous claims' made to gain 'cheap' publicity.

On May 23rd he withdrew his statements tweeting that he received  Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s letter and is withdrawing his statement with regrets to end the whole controversy. Eight minutes later,  he retweeted a post by a Twitter user that said Yoga and Ayurveda give complete health and modern medical science has limitations. Dr. Harsh Vardhan had written him a two-page Hindi letter emphasizing that the people were very hurt over his remarks and that doctors with the health workers are like gods fighting against the coronavirus while risking their lives for the people of our country.

According to IMA, as many as 420 doctors have died battling the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic with a total of over 1,200 since the beginning of the crisis last year.

This article has been written by Ruchi Thakur for The Paradigm

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