//Appeal from CWDS (Delhi) to SAKHI (Kerala)

Appeal from CWDS (Delhi) to SAKHI (Kerala)

An Appeal


We, the undersigned, express serious concern at the wild allegations and hate campaign being mounted by Shri Ramdev against Smt.  Brinda Karat, a leading representative of the women’s movement in India, and now an elected Member of Parliament. The ire of Shri Ramdev and the obscurantist forces that have rallied around him has been directed at Smt.  Karat for raising the issue of the Divya Yog Pharmacy (Haridwar) having violated both labour laws as well as legal provisions regarding labelling and licensing of drugs.  The modus operandi adopted by them has been a high-pitched and personalised attack targeting Smt. Karat, an attack that has been fostered and encouraged by a sensationalising media.


We believe that there are two central issues involved in the controversy that need to be addressed. The first is the issue of the legitimate rights, grievances, and collective struggle of the Pharmacy workers against their management. This issue has been suppressed and made somewhat invisible by converting the conflict between the interests of the workers and the owners of Divya Yog Pharmacy, into one of a clash between two individuals. The second is the question of standards and accountability in all forms and branches of medicine, an issue that is being evaded and diverted by the hysteria that has been whipped up. In the name of defending ‘traditional’ forms of medicine, Shri Ramdev, his supporters, and allies seem to be propagating the untenable view that those who have taken the title of Swami, Baba, or similar traditional spiritual titles are above question or accountability to society.


Unfortunately the media, by portraying the whole issue as being primarily a battle between two individuals, has also contributed to obfuscating the real social concerns involved in the controversy, thereby scuttling the possibility of a serious debate on the issues raised. These include issues related to the violation of regulatory laws in relation to public health and medical ethics, subversion of the rights of workers, and also the need for public accountability and enquiry into the commercial practices of institutions that claim spiritual authority.


We urge upon all concerned to refrain from further sensationalisation of the matter and assert the need to uphold the right to critical and rational debate.