Yoga guru Ramdev on Monday said that he respected allopathy and doctors practicing modern medicine as their “contribution is immense to the medical field and society”, reported the Hindustan Times. The clarification came as doctors hold a countrywide protest against earlier remarks made by the yoga guru.

“Our drive is not against them but those who sell medicines at exorbitant prices and treat patients as revenue-earning customers,” claimed Ramdev in a series of tweets. “We are against those who unnecessarily recommend medical tests, operations and costly drugs while the patient doesn’t require them at all.”

Ramdev called for an “integrated approach” with the use of ayurvedic and allopathic treatment. He also called for action against what he called the “drug mafia”, which he claimed was extorting money in the name of healthcare.

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“I want to end this so-called ayurveda-allopathy superiority episode,” said Ramdev, reported the Hindustan Times. “We respect allopathy and expect the same for Ayurveda and it should not be seen as pseudo-science or alternative therapy. It is an ancient medical science practiced, honed and has been curing people for ages.”

The Indian Medical Association’s Uttarakhand unit General Secretary Dr Ajay Khanna said that the group will be able to comment on the matter only after a written clarification from Patanjali Yogpeeth.

In recent weeks, Ramdev has been at the centre of a row with experts of allopathic medicine as videos of the yoga guru propagated misinformation about the coronavirus and the use of modern medicine.

In yet another video that is being widely circulated, Ramdev has claimed that 1,000 doctors died even after getting two doses of the vaccine. could not independently verify the authenticity of the video. Some reports quoted Ramdev as claiming that 10,000 doctors died even after being fully inoculated. The Indian Medical Association had recently said that hundreds of doctors in India have died in the second wave of the pandemic, but that only 3% of them had been vaccinated against the virus.

On May 23, Ramdev withdrew his remarks after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had asked him to do so in a letter. Vardhan had said it was unfortunate that Ramdev claimed that several coronavirus patients had died because of consuming allopathic medicines.

On May 25, the Indian Medical Association’s Uttarakhand unit had sent a defamation notice to Ramdev for calling allopathic medicine a “stupid science”. He had claimed that lakhs of coronavirus patients died because of allopathic medicines rather than a shortage of oxygen.

On May 27, the Indian Medical Association had filed a police complaint against Ramdev, seeking a first information report against him for spreading “false and baseless” information about the treatment of Covid-19 patients using approved methods and drugs.

The medical association demanded that an FIR be filed against Ramdev under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Doctors observe ‘black day’ in protest

Multiple doctors’ associations from across the country on Tuesday protested against Ramdev’s comments about modern medicine. The doctors’ groups have called for an “unconditional open public apology” for his objectionable remarks.

The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association will hold a countrywide protest on Tuesday. The organisation said it will make sure that the demonstration did not hamper patient care “to voice our protest against the illogical, unscientific, demeaning and derogatory statements”.

Apart from the doctors’ body, the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Puducherry also lent its support to the protests along with the Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association.