Ramdev's allopathy remarks: Doctors protest at hospitals in Delhi, observe 'Black Day'

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New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) Upset over yoga guru Ramdev's remarks on allopathy, resident doctors at several hospitals in Delhi protested as part of a nationwide stir on Tuesday and sought an unconditional public apology or action under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Banded under the Federation of Resident Doctors Associations (FORDA), which had called for the protest on May 29 and stressed that healthcare services would not be hampered, the doctors wore black armbands, ribbons and held up placards.

'Our protest began on Tuesday morning against the remarks made by Ramdev, who is not qualified to even speak on the discipline of allopathy. It had affected the morale of doctors, who are fighting day in and day out in the (COVID-19) pandemic. We demand an unconditional public apology from him or action against him under the Epidemic Diseases Act,' a senior FORDA official said.

FORDA India on Tuesday even changed its Twitter profile picture to a dark poster that said 'Black Day'. Many RDAs from outside Delhi put up posts on social media in solidarity with FORDA.

The RDAs which have joined the stir are from AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital, Hindu Rao Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, B R Ambedkar Hospital and more will join later in the day, he said.

'Many doctors are wearing black armbands or black ribbons to symbolise the protest,' the FORDA official said, adding, 'Doctors in other cities have also joining the stir.' While some doctors held up placards bearing protest messages, others wearing PPE kits had 'Black Day Protest' scribbled on the back of the medical gear.

In a statement issued on Saturday, FORDA India had said even after raising objections to the statements made by Ramdev, 'no action has been taken yet. We are hereby declaring Nationwide #BlackDayProtest on 1st June, 2021 at 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,' the statement had said.

The FORDA has also alleged that Ramdev's remarks have added to the 'vaccine hesitancy' among people.

In a statement, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) RDA said, such 'slanderous remarks' by Ramdev will 'incite violence against the healthcare services personnel and would lead to a total failure of public health systems.' 'However, we will ensure patient care would not be hampered in this process,' it said.

The AIIMS RDA also urged 'competent authorities to take stringent action against Ramdev and to book him under relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897' for allegedly 'trying to create public unrest against the vaccination drive, harassing healthcare services personnel and preventing them from discharging their duties and creating misconceptions in common public which could cost them their dear lives'.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is currently underway in the country. It started on January 16.

Ramdev was recently forced to withdraw his remarks questioning some of the medicines being used to treat the coronavirus infection and that 'lakhs have died from taking allopathic medicines for COVID-19', a video clip of which went viral.

The remarks were met with vociferous protests, following which Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked him to withdraw the 'extremely unfortunate' statement.

A day later, the yoga guru posed 25 questions to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in an 'open letter' on his Twitter handle, asking if allopathy offered permanent relief from ailments.

His remarks had irked the medical fraternity, upsetting both the IMA and the Delhi Medical Association (DMA). RDA of RML Hospital extended its full support to FORDA too and its members protested without hampering patient care.

During the ferocious first and second waves of the pandemic, all the Covid warriors including the doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, police personnel, media person etc have worked tirelessly day and night beyond their limits to serve the affected people, it said in a statement.

'The vitriolic, disgraceful and derogatory statements' of Ramdev are equivalent to belittling the sacrifices made by the Covid warriors, many of whom have laid down their lives in the line of national duty, it said.

'Secondly, his baseless, unscientific and illogical claims have potential to create a sense of fear and panic in the public and it may derail the government of India's vaccination campaign. Despite multiple representations, no action has yet been taken against him,' the RDA said. PTI KND/PLB SMN SMN

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