New Delhi: Doctors across the country are observing a “Black Day” on Tuesday in protest against Yoga guru Ramdev’s alleged remarks on allopathy where he apparently called modern medical treatments “stupid”. Various medical associations have demanded an “unconditional open public apology” for Ramdev’s alleged “insensitive and derogatory” comments that more people died of modern medicine during the coronavirus pandemic than the deadly disease itself.
The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), that had called for the protest, said that even after raising objections to Ramdev’s statements, “no action has been taken yet.”
“We are hereby declaring Nationwide Black Day Protest on 1st June 2021 at the workplace, without hampering healthcare services. We demand an unconditional open public apology from him or action against him under the relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897,” their statement on Twitter said.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) – the country’s topmost body of doctors – has also extended support to the protest where doctors will wear black badges at the workplace.
In a widely shared video last week, Ramdev is heard saying at an event, “Lakhs of people have died because of allopathic medicines, far more than those who died because they did not get treatment or oxygen.”
Ramdev’s Patanjali group – one of India’s biggest Ayurvedic businesses – was prompt to defend its boss and said the video had been edited and the statement “taken out of context”. Ramdev has “no ill-will against modern science and good practitioners of modern medicine”, the group said.
Facing backlash over his comments and a letter from Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, the saffron-robed Yogi withdrew his statement soon after.
“Received your letter Dr Harsh Vardhan. In that context and to end the whole controversy over the conflict of different treatments with regrets, I am withdrawing my statement,” he tweeted, hours after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked him to take back the remarks.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also sent a notice to the 55-year-old asking him to apologise for the remarks within 15 days. If he fails to do so, the top doctors’ body said a compensation of Rs 1000 crore will be demanded from him for defamation.
Patanjali has said it will give a “befitting reply” legally to the defamation notice.
The IMA also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take action against Ramdev under sedition and other charges for allegedly “spearheading a misinformation campaign on Covid vaccination”.
Showing little remorse for his remarks, Ramdev was seen in yet another controversial video on social media, challenging calls for his arrest, saying “even ther baap” (father) cannot arrest Swami Ramdev”.