The face off between the Indian Medical Association and Yoga expert Ramdev has sharpened over the past few days. After the IMA Uttarakhand issued a Rs 1000 cr defamation notice to Ramdev, the IMA has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he should be booked for sedition for allegedly spreading misinformation on vaccination and challenging government protocols for treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Ramdev ran afoul of the medical and scientific community with a video statement claiming that allopathy had killed more people in the last one year than the pandemic itself. He described allopathy as “a stupid science” and pointed to the failure of medicines approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) in treating Covid patients.

The outcry compelled Union Health Minister Dr.Harshvardhan to extract an apology from Ramdev. More so as the Indian Medical Association protested strongly, urging the government to prosecute the Yoga guru for defaming allopathy. Ramdev said that he had been misunderstood and was only reading out a Whatsapp view.

But he followed this shortly after with 25 questions asking the IMA for cures to diseases like hypertension and heart disease. This was the precursor to a heated television debate between Ramdev and Dr Jayesh Lele, Secretary General of IMA, who lambasted him for undermining the role of allopathy. And for promoting untried remedies.

But viewers noticed that all the while the said television channel openly promoted Coronil , a medicine Ramdev had claimed last year as a cure for Covid but later retracted to clarify that it was only an immunity booster, not a cure.

Dr.Lele is being widely supported on social media by the medical fraternity and the general public but support for Yoga practitioners is also ‘trending.’

Meanwhile, talking to this writer, Dr.Anil Bansal, Head of the anti quackery cell of the Delhi Medical Association said that Ramdev “should be arrested under the Magical Remedies Act 1954 for promoting miracle cures or Shartia Ilaj."

He says, "Baba has listed 25 diseases demanding their cure in allopathy but I am saying if you check the Magical Remedies Act it names at least 50 diseases for which we don't have a cure. For instance, we can only suggest some exercises and diet control to check diabetes but ultimately you have to take medicines for life.Under the Act if anyone advertises that they can cure these diseases forever,they can be prosecuted."

Dr.Bansal, who has been actively taking action against fake doctors in Delhi for several years, says that the whole debate is being turned into an allopathy vs Ayurveda controversy by Ramdev which it is not.

"We have no quarrel with Ayurveda. Let them practice their cures and let us practice Allopathy.The problem arises when doctors getting degrees in Ayurveda start practicing allopathy and become dangerous. “Unfortunately I have not seen a single doctor of Ayurveda practising only Ayurveda," he added.

And now the CEO of Patanjali, Acharya Balkrishna has given a new twist to the controversy . He tweeted, "As part of the conspiracy to convert the entire country into #Chrustianity #Yoga and #Ayurveda are being maligned by targeting @yogishriramdevjee”.He attached a clip from a website from IMA carrying a picture of IMA President Dr.JA Jayalalitha. His tagline asked "Doctor or Pastor", according to a news report in the Times of India.

Just a week ago Dr.Harshvardhan and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had jointly launched an oral drug produced by the DRDO. This has been promoted as an Indian drug which has been tested on a few persons in the last one year.

The drug, it was revealed later, was based on a research team led by Acharya Balkrishna.

The drug has however not been approved so far by scientists because it has not been tried on sufficient patients.

Almost 40 % of doctors have faced violence at one time or the other: Dr.  Jayesh Lele, Health News, ET HealthWorld