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Nothing against Ramdev, respect him as yoga guru: IMA chief Dr JA Jayalal

IMA acknowledges and compliments all systems of medicine, especially the Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine, said Dr Jayalal in an interview to MoneyControl.

June 01, 2021 / 07:19 PM IST
IMA chief Dr JA Jayalal

IMA chief Dr JA Jayalal

Yoga guru Ramdev and Indian Medical Association (IMA) have been embroiled in a war of words over last few days after the former’s comments against COVID-19 vaccination and efficacy of allopathic or modern medicine.

In conversation with MoneyControl, Dr JA Jayalal, national president of IMA, said that the association had nothing against the Yoga Guru or Ayurveda system of medicine but was miffed over his comments against government of India’s COVID-19 vaccination policy that could potentially confuse people.

Read: Explained: All you need to know about IMA and what is its row with Ramdev all about

Dr Jayalal, a Professor in Surgery in Tirunelveli Government Medical College Hospital in Tamil Nadu’s, said that the association could even withdraw its police complaint against Ramdev if he apologises and comes forward to say that the ongoing vaccination programme is good for the country and its people’s healthcare. Excerpts of the interview:

Why is IMA suddenly speaking against Ramdev?

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I have said this before that IMA or its any office bearer has nothing against Ramdev, or Ayurveda, for that matter. But, as we wrote in the letter to the Prime Minister, when someone, with such a big followership, deceitfully says in public that 10,000 people have died despite two doses of vaccination, it is a deliberate move to stall the efforts of vaccination to reach our masses and may end up confusing people.

IMA has lodged a police complaint against him. The Uttarakhand chapter filed a defamation suit. What if Ramdev apologises?

As I said earlier, Ramdev is respected by millions of people in India and abroad. If he comes forward, apologises for his comments and says that the present COVID-19 vaccination protocol is good for the country and its people, it will definitely have a positive impact and he will be doing great service to the nation. We can even withdraw the police complaint we filed against him. The Rs 1000-Crore defamation case was filed by Uttrankhand chapter. They can only comment on that. IMA is concerned about comments against vaccination, which we consider wrong and will continue to oppose.

Also, read :'Black Day' today: Doctors call for protest against Baba Ramdev’s allopathy, vaccine remarks

We see many ministers in Government of India sitting beside Ramdev. What does IMA has to say?

IMA is not there to comment on what the government of India or its ministers do. It’s purely the government and the minister’s prerogative to do whatever they want to do. We will only oppose any comment which is against the healthcare of the country. The IMA is following the standard procedure given by the Government of India. Vaccination for COVID-19 is the Prime Minister’s prime objective. But when someone speaks against the vaccination, this is spreading misinformation and detrimental for the country.

Ayurveda has a history of acceptance in India. What does IMA think of it?

IMA has time and again acknowledged and complimented all systems of medicine, especially our Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine. We believe that all systems are necessary for the healthcare delivery of our country, as each system helps people differently. We at IMA believe that Ayurveda needs further aggressive promotion. We only oppose mixing up of different forms of medicine. We are not against any medicine promoted by the government of India and happy to share in most of our public health treatment centres the drugs promoted by the AYUSH ministry. We even opposed certain drugs promoted without the approval of ministry as a curative drug.

Also Read: Sunil Bansal, CEO of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Dairies, dies of ‘COVID complications’

In its letters and communications, IMA has used strong language against Ramdev?

We cannot ignore the fact that Ramdev is a respected man of the country. People refer to him as ‘Baba’. IMA doesn’t want to bring personal interests here. We also refer to him as Ramdevji (in Hindi) in letters that we wrote. I must confess that, like thousands of people in the country, I also respect him as a Yoga Guru. But I do not believe what he says is Ayurveda.
Gulam Jeelani is a journalist with over 11 years of reporting experience. Based in New Delhi, he covers politics and governance for Moneycontrol.

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