The Indian Medical Association on Saturday condemned the Central Council of Indian Medicine, the regulatory body for the study and practice of Ayurveda in India, for allowing its practitioners to perform general surgery such as ophthalmology and dental procedures.

In a notification on Friday, the council amended the Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2016, to include the regulation to permit post-graduate students of Ayurveda to received training and practice of “shalya” and “shalakya”, reported IANS. While the former term refers to general surgery, the latter is related to diseases of ear, nose, throat, head, eye, and oro-dentistry.

However, the Ayush ministry on Sunday issued a statement clarifying the amendment, according to ANI. “Notification is specific to 58 specified surgical procedures & doesn’t allow Shalya & Shalakya PGs to take up any other surgeries,” it said.

In a letter on Saturday, the IMA said that the council has a “dubious reputation” of prescribing modern medicine textbooks to its students. It warned that mixing modern medicine with other systems or “poaching” disciplines of modern medicine was “foul play”. “IMA exhorts the Council to develop their own surgical disciplines from their own ancient texts and not claim the surgical discipline of Modern Medicine as its own,” the letter said. “Such a deviant practice is unbecoming of statutory body.”

The doctors’ association also urged the Centre to refrain from posting doctors of modern medicine at Indian medicine colleges. “IMA sees this development as a retrograde step of mixing the systems, which will be resisted at all costs,” it said. The association said that students and practitioners of modern medicine were agitated over the matter and asked what would be the sanctity of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, the examination for students to study undergraduate medical courses in India, if such “lateral shortcuts” are taken.

The IMA also said that it does not allow its own members to teach disciplines of modern medicine to students of other systems. “Let every system grow on its own strength and purity,” it said.

The doctors’ association asked the government to withdraw the order and teach Indian medicine disciplines based on its texts. It also asked the National Medical Commission to take action in this regard. “NMC is equally responsible to protect the purity of modern medicine,” the letter said.

The IMA had earlier also opposed the Centre’s decision to permit traditional systems of Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Yoga, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy to offer allopathic therapies and treatment.