The Indian Medical Association on Tuesday wrote a letter in support of the countrywide “black day” protest against yoga guru Ramdev for his remarks against allopathic doctors and allopathy, reported PTI. The doctors’ body also called for sedition charges against Ramdev and for his prosecution under the Disaster Management Act.

“IMA has been playing its anchoring role during the pandemic,” read the letter. “We work with the Government of India and all State Governments. As a matter of fact, the vacuum due to the retreat of the political class has been deservedly filled by IMA.”

Ramdev deemed it fit to make the comments against the national Covid-19 treatment protocol and the vaccination programme “looking for an opportunity to market his commercial products”, the doctors group claimed.

“What he failed to realise is that in doing so he has irreparably damaged the efforts of Government of India in containing the epidemic,” the association added, according to ANI. “Creating confusion in the minds of the people against the national Covid protocol and national vaccination programme is an anti-national act of heinous proportions.”

Inaction for Ramdev’s comments that the IMA called a “criminal act” would “seriously hurt the doctors who are fighting the pandemic”, the letter said. The association also said that Ramdev’s supporters had tried “diversionary tactics of malicious attacks” on the IMA and its national president.

The association said it will continue to pursue action against Ramdev.

“The total number of Covid-19 patients in the country so far is 2.78 Crores and 2.54 Crores have recovered,” the association’s letter said. “Our case fatality rate remains 1.16 per cent. Even with the limitations of official statistics, it can be seen that Indian doctors, nurses and health care workers have fought tirelessly.”

The association also highlighted that about 1,300 doctors had died during the pandemic.

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

Ahead of the protest, the yoga guru issued a statement, saying that he respected allopathy and doctors practicing modern medicine as their “contribution is immense to the medical field and society”. He also called for an “integrated approach” with the use of ayurvedic and allopathic treatment.

The controversy

Since May, 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 a video that was widely circulated, Ramdev had 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 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 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.