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Indian doctors protest against teacher who claims yoga can defeat COVID-19


Thousands of Indian doctors are expected to wear black armbands on Tuesday to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guru and ally who claims yoga and traditional medicine offer stronger protection against COVID-19 than vaccines.

Doctors accuse Baba Ramdev, a staunch television yoga advocate with close ties to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, of deliberately fueling Vaccine frequency and suspicion of modern medicine to promote his own Ayurvedic medicine company, Patanjali Ayurvedic.

Baba Ramdev says ‘Don’t take the vaccine. Dr. John Austin Jayalal, President of the Indian Medical Association, said that epidemiological medicine is stupid and medicines are killing more people. His statements certainly cause confusion. The central government should put an end to that.”

The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Societies, whose members are on the front lines of treating critically ill Covid patients, has called for Ramdev to be prosecuted under the Epidemiology Act on charges of “unreasonable, unscientificinsulting and degrading terms.

Baba Ramdev launched Coronil in February to fight Covid © Stephanie Findlay / FT

Tensions between Ramdev and medical personnel have been rising since February, when the teacher Coronil, a blend of Ayurvedic medicine Covid, was launched at a high-profile event where Health Minister Harsh Vardhan spoke at a panel praising Patanjali.

The Institute of Psychiatry criticized the health minister for discrediting a “falsely fabricated unscientific product”, prompting a Patanjali spokesman to respond that doctors had “problems accepting the truth”.

Hostilities escalated sharply during the second wave of COVID-19 when hospitals were laden With patients in critical condition and had to contend with lack of beds, oxygen, medicine and staff. More than 170,000 Indians have died of Covid in the past two months.

Ramdev, whose yoga channel is watched by millions, has ridiculed modern medicine as a “bankrupt stupid science” and told his followers in a video circulating on social media that many Indian doctors had succumbed to Covid despite being vaccination.

“What kind of doctors are they if they can’t even save themselves?” He said.

Dr. Manish, the president of FORDA who uses only one name, said Tuesday’s action was a “black day of protest” but insisted it would not affect patient care.

“Ramdev mocked the medical fraternity at a time when . . . doctors treated patients without care their own life,” he added.

The IMA, whose former boss died of Covid, accused Ramdev of “trying to create a false sense of fear and frustration in the public at large” to encourage them to buy his formulas.

Despite criticism, Ramdev continues to downplay the effectiveness of vaccination while promoting his own treatments. “Ramdev is trying to take over areas with uneducated people, telling them this is cheap medicine,” said Dr Jayesh Lilly, IMA Secretary General.

Ramdev did not respond to a request for comment.

Indian doctors’ relations with the Modi government were fraught. The IMA has opposed New Delhi’s decision to allow alternative medicine practitioners to perform 58 types of surgeries as well as attempts to incorporate traditional Indian medicine into the curricula of modern medical schools.



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