New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday demanded that the Centre should take strict action against yoga guru Ramdev for allegedly misleading people by making "unlearned" comments and describing modern medicine as "stupid science", remarks which were denied as "false" by the Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust.
The Resident Doctors' Associations of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital too condemned Ramdev's statement and demanded that "strictest steps" be taken against him.
Citing a video circulating on social media, the IMA said Ramdev has claimed that allopathy is a "stupid science" and medicines such as remdesivir, faviflu, and other drugs approved by the Drugs Controller General of India have failed to treat COVID-19 patients. The doctor's body also quoted Ramdev as saying that "lakhs of patients have died after taking allopathic medicines".
Ramdev should be prosecuted under the Epidemic Diseases Act as "untutored" statements are "a threat to the literate society of the country as well as to the poor people falling prey to him", the IMA said in a statement.
"The Union health minister, who himself is a practising modern medicine allopathic postgraduate and head of this (health) ministry, should either accept the challenge and accusation of this gentleman and dissolve the modern medical facility or boldly face and prosecute the person for his words of arson on the sovereignty of the country and book him under the Epidemic Act to save millions of people from such unscientific utterances," the IMA said.
The IMA said it has also sent a legal notice to Ramdev seeking 'written apology' and 'recall of statements' by him.
Reacting to the controversy, Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust issued a statement, denying the comments, and said, "it is clarified that the truncated version of the video is totally out of context of what is sought to be conveyed by Swami jee."
Asserting that Ramdev has "utmost regards" for doctors and support staff who have been working day and night during such a challenging time of the pandemic, the statement signed by Trust General Secretary Acharya Balakrishna said, "Swami jee has no ill-will against the modern science and good practitioners of modern medicine. What is being attributed against him is false and nugatory."
IMA also alleged that Ramdev was trying to take advantage of the situation and create a sense of fear and frustration among the people at large. He is doing this so that "he can sell his illegal and unapproved so-called medicines and make money at the cost of the public at large", the association said.
The IMA said Ramdev deserves to be prosecuted for "disobeying and causing danger" to the life of many by making them believe to not to take the advice of allopathy doctors.
"The IMA demands and resolves if the minister (Harsh Vardhan) is not taking suo moto action, we will be forced to resort to democratic means of struggle to propagate the truth to the common man and knock the doors of the judiciary to get due to justice, it said and added that taking people for ransom and winning business by defaming scientific medicine are unpardonable offenses.
In a statement, the RDA of AIIMS said it "vehemently condemns" Ramdev's comments.
"On behalf of the medical fraternity, and all healthcare and frontline workers, we demand strongly that strictest steps be taken against his inappropriate conduct at the earliest to prevent unrest amongst doctors and anxiety amongst the affected patients and their family," it said.
Ramdev should be booked under relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1987 and we demand that he offers an unconditional apology to the scientific community failing which we will be forced to call for a public protest condemning the act, it added.
The RDA of Safdarjung Hospital said Ramdev's statement must be considered as hate speech" and requested the appropriate authorities to book him under relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1987.
"We demand unconditional public apology from Ramdev to allopathy and its practitioners," it said in a statement.