IMA vs Ramdev: What is the controversy all about?

Yoga guru and the owner of Patanjali Ayurved, a multinational consumer packaged goods company, is at the receiving end of the Indian Medical Association’s ire. Latter has alleged that Ramdev has made statements discouraging people to take approved allopathy drugs and mocked allopathic medicine. Ramdev has denied such allegations. The matter has now reached PM Modi. Details here.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: May 26th, 2021

Yoga practitioner Ramdev and secretary general of IMA Jayesh M Lele.

In the past couple of days, a war of words has triggered between the Indian Medical Association and yoga practitioner Ramdev, and the matter has now also reached Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

Today, May 26, in a letter to PM Modi, the national-level doctors’ association has appealed to take appropriate action against Ramdev under the charge of sedition on spreading misinformation on COVID19 vaccination. The yoga guru, alleges IMA, has said that 10,000 doctors have died in spite of taking both the doses of the vaccine.

Earlier, the IMA had written to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan pointing out how Ramdev had allegedly called allopathy a ‘stupid science’ and ‘disobeyed’ approved allopathy drugs. The doctor’s association had demanded action under the Epidemics Act, 1897.

Gaon Connection has been following up on this issue. Here is a timeline of how the fight between the IMA and Ramdev has flared up.

May 22

The Indian Medical Association issued a press statement over Ramdev’s alleged statements against allopathy. It urged Health Minister Vardhan to prosecute Ramdev for ‘disobeying’ and ‘causing danger to the life of many’ by discouraging people to take approved allopathy drugs. The association threatened to move the judiciary if no action was taken.

Also Read: ‘Enough is enough’: IMA demands action against Ramdev under the Epidemic Act

But why?

In a video circulating on social media, Ramdev was allegedly seen mocking the approved allopathy drugs. He allegedly said ‘modern allopthy ek aisi stupid aur diwaliya science hai’ (modern allopathy is a stupid and bankrupt science). This was highlighted by the doctors’ association in its press statement issued on May 22.

The doctors’ association also alleged that Ramdev claimed that Remdesivir, Faviflu, and all other approved drugs by DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India) have failed and millions of people have died due to the consumption of allopathy medicines.

The Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust has denied allegations by the doctors’ association. It said the yoga guru was reading out a WhatsApp forwarded message in the video that has gone viral on social media.

May 23

The health ministry issued a letter to Ramdev directing him to retract his statements. The health minister called Ramdev’s remarks as ‘inappropriate’.

After the health minister’s letter, Ramdev withdrew his statements on allopathic medicine. “We do not oppose modern medical science and allopathy. We believe that allopathy has shown immense progress in surgery and the lifesaving system and served humanity. My statement has been quoted as part of a WhatsApp message that I was reading during a meeting of volunteers. I am sorry if it has hurt anyone’s sentiment,” wrote Ramdev in his letter to Vardhan.

May 24

The yoga guru issued a press release firing 25 questions at the IMA and pharmaceutical companies highlighting the shortcomings of allopathy. Ramdev asked the doctors’ association and pharma companies for permanent solutions to some common diseases, such as hypertension, type I and type II diabetes.

Meanwhile, the same day, the Indian Medical Association Uttaranchal State Branch wrote a letter to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat to ‘take prompt and strict action’ against Ramdev’s remarks on allopathic medical profession and medical profession. 

The letter signed by Uttarakhand IMA state secretary Ajay Khanna said that Ramdev’s derogatory remarks have ‘demoralized’ and ‘angered’ the medical fraternity.

On the microblogging platform Twitter, Ramdev’s aide Acharya Balkrishna lashed out at JA Jayalal, the president of the Indian Medical Association, and tweeted: “As part of the conspiracy to convert the entire country into #Christianity, #Yoga and #Ayurveda are being maligned by targeting @yogrishiramdev jee. Countrymen, wake up now from the deep slumber otherwise the generations to come will not forgive you.” 

Amid all this, Haryana’s Health and Home Minister Anil Vij announced the purchase and distribution of Patanjali’s Coronil kits among the COVID19 patients in the state. But, the Haryana chapter of the doctors’ association reportedly opposed this decision of the state government and called this announcement a ‘wastage of money’.

May 25

The Uttarakhand chapter of the IMA warned that if Ramdev doesn’t tender a written apology within the next 15 days and posts a video countering the statements given by him, then a sum of Rs 1,000 crores will be demanded from him as defamation suit.

Also Read: ‘Tender a written apology or face Rs 1,000 crore defamation case’: IMA Uttarakhand to Ramdev

May 26

The IMA sent a letter to PM Modi, urging him to take appropriate action against Ramdev under the charge of sedition.

The association said it would like to ‘painfully’ bring to the PM’s notice “the video claiming 10,000 doctors have died in spite of taking both the dose of vaccine and lakhs of people have died due to allopathic medicine … as said by Mr. Ramdev, owner of Patanjali products.”

“If someone is claiming that the allopathic medicine has killed the people, it is an attempt to challenge the Ministry who has issued the protocol for treatment to us,” the letter signed by JA Jayalal, national president, and Jayesh M Lele, honorary secretary general of IMA read.

In the wake of the allegedly derogatory statements by Ramdev, the association has urged PM Modi to take appropriate action against ‘individuals viciously propagating the message of fear on vaccination’ as this in their opinion is a ‘clear-cut case of a sedition’.