Covid: Ramdev withdraws offensive remarks on allopathic medicine
Yoga televangelist Ramdev on Sunday withdrew his derogatory remarks against allopathic medicine after Union health minister Harsh Vardhan wrote to him seeking a retraction and saying his “extremely unfortunate” comments had disrespected “corona warriors” and could demoralise healthcare workers.
“Hon’ble Minister, I have received your letter. I withdraw my statement, putting to rest the controversy over various medical practices,” Ramdev tweeted in Hindi from his personal Twitter handle.
माननीय श्री @drharshvardhan जी आपका पत्र प्राप्त हुआ,— स्वामी रामदेव (@yogrishiramdev) May 23, 2021
उसके संदर्भ में चिकित्सा पद्दतियों के संघर्ष के इस पूरे विवाद को खेदपूर्वक विराम देते हुए मैं अपना वक्तव्य वापिस लेता हूँ और यह पत्र आपको संप्रेषित कर रहा हूं- pic.twitter.com/jEAr59VtEe
Doctors’ bodies had on Saturday asked the government to prosecute Ramdev after a video purportedly showed him dubbing allopathy a “stupid science” that had killed “lakhs of people” and was ineffective against Covid.
Vardhan, himself a modern surgeon, wrote a letter to Ramdev that said: “Through your statement you not only disrespected corona warriors but also deeply hurt the sentiments of countrymen. Your statement on allopathy can break the morale of healthcare workers and weaken our fight against Covid-19.”
Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust had on Saturday evening claimed Ramdev was merely “reading out a forwarded WhatsApp message” in the video and that he had the “utmost regards” for doctors and support staff battling the epidemic.
“When allopathic doctors saved lives of crores during Covid, your comments that allopathy is responsible for the death of lakhs is extremely unfortunate,” Vardhan wrote.
“You also are aware that countless healthcare workers lost their lives in their fight against Covid. You calling allopathy treatment a ‘drama’, useless and ‘diwaliya’ (causing bankruptcy) is unfortunate.”
Vardhan said that if the Covid death rate was 1.13 per cent and the recovery rate more than 88 per cent, it was because of the contribution of allopathy and its practitioners.
“Even Covid-19 vaccine which has proved to be an effective tool in our fight against the infection has been given by allopathy,” he said.
Vardhan said the explanation given by Ramdev was not enough.
“In your explanation, you just said that your sentiment was not to hurt modern science and doctors. I don’t think your explanation was enough,” he said.
Vardhan, who had earlier this year been criticised for attending the launch of the herbal product Coronil that Patanjali had touted as an anti-Covid medication, however, adopted a somewhat placatory tone towards a man considered close to the Narendra Modi government.
“Baba Ramdev, you are a public figure and your statement holds value. I think that you should give statements on any issue keeping in view the time and circumstances,” he wrote.
“I hope you will think about it seriously and in view of the sentiments of corona warriors from across the world you will withdraw your statement.”
The Indian Medical Association, Federation of All India Medical Associations and the Resident Doctors Associations of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital had on Saturday sought action against Ramdev.
The IMA said it had sent a legal notice to Ramdev seeking a “written apology” and “recall of statements” by him.
In the video, Ramdev purportedly says medicines such as remdesivir, Fabiflu and other drugs approved by the Drugs Controller General of India have failed to treat Covid-19 patients, and that “lakhs of people have died after taking allopathic medicines”.
The Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust has said “the truncated version of the video is totally out of context of what is sought to be conveyed by Swami jee”.