Doctors Stage Nationwide Protest, Walk Out of All Non‑Essential, Non‑Covid19 Services


Dec 11, 2020


Image Credit: Ashwin Prasath

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for doctors to withdraw all non-essential and non-Covid19 services from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Friday, December 11, in order to protest the Centre’s decision to allow Ayurveda doctors with a postgraduate degree to perform general, dental, and ophthalmologic surgeries.

The professional association had previously called for a strike in 10,000 different public spots across the country on December 8 to protest the matter.

Ayurveda is the practice of traditional Indian medicine that currently doesn’t have any clear basis in modern science and medicine. The IMA, which represents practitioners of modern medicine, terms the mixture of surgery and Ayurveda ‘mixopathy’ and claims combining practices from multiple traditions of medicine can threaten human health and life. “Our main motive behind this protest is to reach out to the common people, to make them aware of this threat,” Dr. Simrran Kalra, National Secretary of the IMA’s Medical Students Network, told the National Herald. “We are against this … ‘jack of all trades and masters of none’ culture in our profession.”

“IMA will be constrained to intensify the agitation until the steps towards implementing ‘mixopathy’ are abandoned,” the IMA’s Secretary-General, Dr. RV Asokan, told Scroll. “IMA has appealed to all the sister professional speciality organizations, the organizations of medical college teachers, government doctors, resident doctors associations apart from medical students and hospitals associations to support its cause to retain the separate identity and existence of modern medicine.”

Related on The Swaddle:

Government Formalizes List of Surgeries Ayurvedic Practitioners Can Perform, Drawing Flak From the Indian Medical Association

Ancient Ayurvedic texts have mentioned the presence of certain surgical procedures, mainly invented and collated by a well-respected sage named Sushruta. Therefore, according to Ayurveda practitioners and the Centre, the recent notification only brings clarity to the abilities of an Ayurveda doctor. However, modern-medicine doctors point out that Ayurveda institutes prescribe textbooks from modern medicine and will carry out surgeries with the help of modern-medicine practitioners, which they say is an encroachment upon modern medicine.

Doctors from medical institutes across the country, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, are wearing black ribbons to support the IMA’s decision to strike. Adarsh Pratap Singh, president, Resident Doctors Association (RDA), AIIMS, said, “Modern medicine has evolved over years through evidence-based research, which has ensured both effectiveness and safety. This step will not only encourage already rampant quackery but also undermine the safety of the public.”

As of now, the IMA’s stance is clear: “If the government does not accept our demands, IMA will file a petition in the Supreme Court,” Dr. Asokan told the Indian Express.


Written By Aditi Murti

Aditi Murti is a culture writer at The Swaddle. Previously, she worked as a freelance journalist focused on gender and cities. Find her on social media @aditimurti.


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