Sunil Bansal, who headed the dairy business of yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved, has died due to the coronavirus disease, PTI reported on Monday, citing the company.
The 57-year-old, who was the vice president in the dairy division of Patanjali Ayurved Limited, died on May 19. The announcement of his death came at a time when Ramdev is courting controversy for deriding allopathy and its role in the pandemic.
In a statement, Patanjali stated that the company had no role in Bansal’s allopathic treatment. “However we were concerned and used to ask for his well-being from his wife,” the Haridwar-based firm said.
President of Rajasthan Hospital in Jaipur, Dr Virendra Singh, told The Indian Express that Bansal was suffering from severe Covid-related complications. He was admitted to the hospital for the last two weeks.
“He was initially on non-invasive ventilation,” Singh added. “Gradually, as his condition deteriorated due to severe pneumonia, he was kept on ventilator support and then on ECMO [Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation]. But despite all our efforts he couldn’t be saved.”
The doctor also told the newspaper that Ramdev suggested some ayurvedic remedies for his treatment, but he was not aware if Bansal’s family members took the advice. “We proactively didn’t follow any ayurvedic treatment method – from our end, we followed allopathic treatment,” Singh said.
Bansal, a specialist in dairy sciences, joined Patanjali in 2018 as the company announced its plans to sell packaged cow milk and other milk-based products.
Ramdev’s comments on allopathy
Last week, a controversy erupted after in a video that went viral on social media, Ramdev claimed that medicines such as remdesivir and favipiravir approved by the Drugs Controller General of India for coronavirus treatment had failed. “Lakhs of patients have died because of allopathic medicines rather than a shortage of oxygen,” he claimed.
The Indian Medical Association demanded that the health ministry take strong action against Ramdev for his comments on modern medicine.
After the comments were widely criticised, Ramdev’s organisation, the Patanjali Yogpeeth, said that his comment was taken “totally out of context”. Balkrishna, the general secretary of the Patanjali Yogpeeth, said that the video in which Ramdev can be heard making the statement was truncated, and that the yoga guru has no ill-will towards modern science and its practitioners.
On Sunday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted a letter he had sent to Ramdev asking him to withdraw his comments. “Doctors and health workers working on a war-footing for the country are god-like,” the health minister tweeted. “Ramdev has hurt the sentiments of the country by insulting the corona warriors.”
Hours later, Ramdev withdrew his comments and said he was not against modern medicine and allopathy.