A day after MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas asked IIT-Madras not to use their name and logo for a cancer conference, which was to be inaugurated by Yoga guru Ramdev on Thursday, organiser and the head of IIT’s bio-technology wing D Karunagaran said Ramdev will give a miss to the event and is expected to send his associate Acharya Balkrishna.
“We are informed that Ramdev won’t be attending the event. We hope that Acharya Balkrishna may be coming, though there has been no confirmation yet,” Karunagaran said.
A Patanjali spokesman said: “It is possible that Swamiji may not attend the event and instead Acharya Balkrishna would. Somebody from Patanjali will certainly be there.”
Ramdev’s name caused outrage as he has in the past made claims about curing cancer, besides supporting Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on his remark that cancer is “divine justice”.
Karunagaran said it was an international committee for the conference that invited Ramdev. “I do not know why they invited him. Since I was part of translational cancer research centre at Thiruvananthapuram and they proposed the idea of exploring ancient medicine in cancer treatments, I agreed for this event. I came to know about Ramdev’s remarks on the causes of cancer only two days back,” said Karunagaran.
When asked about MD Anderson Cancer Centre’s demand, Karunagaran said he has evidence to show that the research centre has given permission to use their name and logo.
One of the professors in the bio-technology department of IIT-Madras said there were voices within the institution against inviting Ramdev for the cancer conference. “But there are multiple plans behind it, including a hope of getting funds from Patanjali to start a new chair or research centre to research on ancient medicines etc,” the professor said.