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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

IMA slams Ramdev, writes to PM demanding action against his ‘misinformation campaign’

Top officials of the IMA, in their letter, said the "misinformation campaign" started by Ramdev had to be stopped" and "appropriate action needs to be taken against individuals propagating fear about vaccination".

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: May 27, 2021 8:27:55 am
Covid-19, RamdevThe 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. (File photo)

The Medical fraternity has slammed Ramdev’s “irrational and ridiculous” statements on how modern medicine was killing Covid-19 patients, and that 10,000 doctors died due to the vaccination, saying this was a “clear cut case of sedition”. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, “This, in our opinion, is a clear-cut case of sedition and such persons should be booked immediately without any delay.”

Top officials of the IMA, in their letter, said the “misinformation campaign” started by Ramdev had to be stopped” and “appropriate action needs to be taken against individuals propagating fear about vaccination”.

The IMA has pointed to two viral videos, in which Patanjali owner Ramdev, is seen claiming that 10,000 doctors had died despite taking both doses of the vaccine and lakhs had died due to allopathic medicine, calling it a “stupid science”.

The IMA’s Uttarakhand branch has served a defamation notice to Ramdev for the remarks against allopathy and allopathic doctors, demanding an apology from him within 15 days failing which they will demand a compensation of Rs 1,000 crore.

“Only 0.06 per cent people, who received both the (vaccine) doses got minimal infection and, very rarely, vaccinated people had severe lung infection,” said Dr J A Jayalal, national president of IMA.

Dr Jayesh Lele, honorary secretary general of IMA, national headquarters, told The Indian Express that modern medicine professionals followed guidelines and protocols issued by the health ministry through Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) or the national task force in treatment offered at hospitals. “If someone is claiming that allopathic medicine has killed people, it is an attempt to challenge the ministry, which has issued the protocol for treatment to us as well as the office of Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO),” Dr Lele said.

The letter has also heavily criticised Ramdev for spreading rumours, falsehood and superstitions among the public through “false, scurrilous and malicious” statements that could discourage people from getting the jab.

“By committing acts that have disturbed and are likely to further disturb public tranquility, he is getting success in persuading people, contrary to the campaign of the Government of India for vaccination of the entire country. This is against national interest and clearly constitutes as an offence,” IMA officials have said.

“We have lost 753 doctors in the first wave and 513 in the second wave. None in the first wave could receive the vaccine and a majority, who died in the second wave, also couldn’t take their vaccine. Now, deceitfully attributing 10,000 people have died in spite of two doses of vaccination, is a deliberate move to stall efforts to reach out to the masses, and it needs to be curtailed immediately,” said the top brass of IMA.

Doctors also mentioned reports from different parts of the country, where frontline workers tasked with conducting vaccination drives, including ASHAs, were being affected by these “misleading assertions” by Ramdev. They said frontline workers were being attacked by people falling for such rumours.

Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, former national president of IMA and treasurer of World Medical Association, said he had posed questions to Ramdev, pertaining to his educational qualification and if he believed in the rule of law to practise medicine and promote drugs as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

“We are not against any medicine promoted by the ministry and are happy to share the drugs promoted by AYUSH ministry in most of our public health treatment centres. We opposed certain drugs being falsely promoted as ‘curative’ drugs, without any approval from the ministry or competent authorities. The AYUSH ministry had also issued a press release to Patanjali to stop advertising/claiming its drug Coronil as a cure for Covid-19,” Dr Wankhedkar said.

“I have challenged Ramdev to an open debate. We have received a response to an RTI query from DCGI that permission was not given to Coronil for treating Covid-19,” Dr Wankhedkar said.

Doctors from IMA are also disappointed with lack of response from the Centre to some of their issues. “We have supported the government in their efforts to vaccinate people and offered to set up free vaccination centres at IMA. However, there has been no response,” Dr Lele said.

“The government does not bother about IMA,” said some top officials, who requested anonymity. There are 26 state branches, another 1,700 local branches and more than 3.5 lakh doctors with IMA, but there is a growing sense of disenchantment with the Centre for failing to address their grievances. More than 1,200 doctors died of Covid-19 but only 200 have been compensated.

“We are not opposing the government, but what we do is offer constructive criticism,” Dr Jayalal told The Indian Express.

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