New Delhi: Yoga guru Ramdev, back to the wall, on Sunday ‘withdrew’ remarks in which he is believed to have said that more people had succumbed to Covid medicines prescribed under allopathy – the modern stream of medicine – and less due to paucity of oxygen.
Earlier in the day, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had described Ramdev's statement as "extremely unfortunate" and asked him to withdraw it. ‘‘The people of the country are extremely hurt at your remarks. Doctors and health workers are like gods for the patients and are risking their lives against all odds," Dr Vardhan said in a two-page letter written in Hindi.
"You have not only insulted Corona warriors but have hurt the feelings of the people of the country. Your clarification is not enough to make up for it... I hope you will think hard on it and withdraw your statements completely," the Union Health Minister added.
Ramdev took his time but eventually tendered an apology of sorts. "Received your letter Dr Harsh Vardhan. In that context and to end the whole controversy over the conflict of different treatments with regrets, I am withdrawing my statement," he tweeted, a few hours after Varadhan asked him the rescind the statement.
However, just eight minutes later, Ramdev also retweeted a post by a Twitter user that said: "Yoga and Ayurveda give us compete health. Modern medical science has limitations. It only gives symptomatic treatment whereas Yoga and Ayurveda give systemic treatment."
Ramdev had allegedly quoted a WhatsApp message to assert that allopathy is a "stupid science" and rubbished the use of medicines like Remdesivir and Faviflu to treat coronavirus.
Facing a backlash over the comments, Ramdev's Patanjali group said the video had been edited and the statement "taken out of context". Swami jee has "no ill-will against modern science and good practitioners of modern medicine", the statement said.
"It is necessary to mention that the event was a private event and Swami jee (Ramdev) was reading out a forwarded WhatsApp message received by him and various other members who were participating in the event... what is being attributed against him is false and nugatory," it said.
Earlier, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which represents 3.5 lakh doctors, and the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) served a legal notice on Ramdev, condemning the "baseless and unscrupulous claims made for cheap publicity". The IMA also said the Union Health Ministry should take action and prosecute Ramdev under the Epidemic Diseases Act as he had misled people by making "unlearned" statements and defaming scientific medicine.