Yoga expert Swami Ramdev is the latest to draw flak from the Union health ministry for claiming to cure diseases such as AIDS and cancer through yoga and ayurvedic drugs sold by his Divya Yoga Mandir Trust.
Ramadev, who popularised yoga by taking it to millions of TV homes through the cable network, received a notice from the department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) earlier this week asking him to stop making false claims about the curative powers of yoga.
Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss says it is not a witch-hunt and should not be seen as one. “Yoga is good for health and I appreciate what he is doing to popularise it. The health ministry supports him on that front...but claiming that it can cure cancer and AIDS is wrong as it has not been scientifically and clinically validated,” said Ramadoss.
The minister clarified that he had nothing to do with the notice. “The ministry is not targeting him or anybody. I did not know about the notice, which was sent to him and some 800 others who were breaking the Drugs and Magical Remedies Act,” said Ramadoss. The notice was a routine one sent to everyone making scientifically unproven claims, he said. It was sent to Ramdev by the Uttaranchal government on the advice of the department of AYUSH.
The Drugs and Magical Remedies Act makes it illegal for people to sell medicines and potions that make scientifically unproven claims of cure for various diseases through all systems of medicine.
Ramdev, meanwhile, has claimed that The Divya Yog Mandir Trust in Haridwar will “prove through clinical tests that yoga can cure AIDS”.
“If he can do that, no one will be happier than the health ministry. We are willing to work with him if he could prove that he could find a cure for HIV,” said Ramadoss.