| Brinda Karat at a news conference in Delhi. (PTI)
Jan. 3: Swami Ramdev teaches millions the art of breathing. Brinda Karat has gone one better ' she breathed fire.
The CPM leader, usually vocal on women’s rights, today accused the television guru of marketing medicines that contain animal parts and powder made from human skull.
Karat produced a letter from Shiv Basant, joint secretary in the Union health ministry, which backed her allegation. “Analysis reports of the samples given by you have since been received and prima facie reveal a violation of licensing and labelling provisions of the Indian Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940,” the letter said.
It added that the alleged violations would be brought “to the notice of the principal secretary (health) of Uttaranchal”, where Ramdev runs a pharmacy, for “further investigation and appropriate action”.
Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, medicines have to specify their content on the labels. Karat said Ramdev markets medicines that do not have proper labels.
“The pharmacy concerned here does not have the legal right to use animal matter,” she added. “Ramdev is exploiting peoples’ faith.”
The allegations have come at a time when preparations are on in full swing for a one-week yoga camp in Ranchi by Ramdev from February 19.
“Advertisements will start appearing in the newspapers in three-four days,” deputy commissioner Pradeep Kumar told The Telegraph.
In Lucknow, the bearded guru, who counts among his disciples several Bollywood stars and leading politicians, did not hold his breath. He held a news conference where he denied the charges and claimed that the Rajya Sabha MP was acting on behalf of multinational companies.
Ramdev, whose ashram in Hardwar is visited by thousands who come to learn breathing exercises, said no government agency had approached the pharmacy his trust runs for samples. “The samples whose test results are being referred to might not have been from the pharmacy or the results were tampered with to defame us. I believe Karat is involved in a conspiracy to defame my organisation,” he said.
“I have checked with the pharmacy and came to know that it had obtained ISO9001 certificate for producing quality Ayurvedic medicines. How can the MP challenge this'” he asked.
“She must have been instigated by some powerful interests. It is a conspiracy to stop my experiment to promote a science that is India’s glory,” he said.
The yoga guru, who visited Amitabh Bachchan when the superstar was recently in hospital, added that the people behind the allegations were “anti-nationals”.
Ramdev also wrote to Karat, saying if there was a real communist it was him because he was fighting multinational drug companies.
In Delhi, the CPM leader also accused N.D. Tiwari, the Congress chief minister of Uttaranchal, of indulging Ramdev and said this “nexus between powerful people and politicians who patronise them has to be broken”.
“It is reported that the Uttaranchal chief minister recently visited Swami Ramdev’s pharmacy and inaugurated a building. I hope there will be no cover-up of criminal violation by the swami of the laws of the country. The state government should move in the matter without any delay,” she said.
Karat has spoken to Tiwari about Ramdev. “If the state government does not fulfil its responsibility, we will explore legal options,” she added.