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Baba Ramdev diverting focus from labour laws violations: Karat
January 07, 2006 20:08 IST
Terming Baba Ramdev's charges against her as "diversionary tactics", Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat Saturday said attempts were being made to deflect attention from the core issue of violation of labour laws in his Ayurveda pharmacy.
Karat also said if Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss had any doubts whether the samples she had given him were from Ramdev's pharmacy or not, the workers of the factory in Hardwar could provide him with further evidence.
"I gave sealed bottles along with computer slips issued by the pharmacy. If there are any doubts, the workers of the pharmacy can present the minister with more evidence," the CPI(M) leader told a press conference organised by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions.
"The major issue is of violation of labour laws in the pharmacy and attention should not be diverted from this issue. I can bear the allegations that are being levelled against me. But these workers are not lying," she said.
She said, even today, the main issue was that of the Divya Pharmacy in Hardwar, run by Baba Ramdev's Divya Yog Mandir Trust, not respecting a tripartite agreement reached between the state government, the pharmacy and the agitating workers on May 21, 2005, under which 113 workers who had been sacked were to be taken back.
Karat stressed she or her party were not against Ayurveda or yoga, but against consumers being kept in the dark about the ingredients of the medicines sold by the pharmacy.
"Our party, our campaign is not against Ayurveda or yoga. But it is wrong to claim your medicine is totally herbal and put something else in it," she said.
CITU leader Dipankar Mukherjee, meanwhile, criticised Uttaranchal Chief Minister N D Tiwari for reportedly saying the issue was between Karat and Ramdev.
He also demanded that the Centre should directly intervene in the matter and get samples from the pharmacy tested.
"Health ministry has found prima facie violation of the Indian Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Why can't it directly intervene and test the samples through the drug controller of India," Mukherjee said.
The Centre has asked Uttaranchal's health authorities to investigate allegations against the baba afresh as the drug samples tested at central laboratories were not lifted directly by the government.
"Both the Uttaranchal and central government must intervene so that there is no violation of the labour law as well as the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940," he said.
Also present at the press conference were some of the 113 workers who have been retrenched from the pharmacy, who alleged human bones were used in making medicines there.
"I am a Brahmin, and hence, I refused to touch animal parts. I was made to crush bones. And I can tell you with certainty that human bones were also used in making medicines," said Sushma Mishra, one of the workers.
"A ring was found among the burnt bones. If they were not human bones, where did that ring come from?" she asked.
"Skull bones were supplied from cremation grounds. These bones cost Rs 700-1000 per kg," said Chandrapal Dubey, another worker. He also claimed that two quintals of bhasm (ash) from animal bones and horns were made at the pharmacy every day.
"Instead of launching a defamation campaign against the spiritual leader, CPI-M should raise the issue of dangerous contents in the soft drinks and gutka that is affecting the health of several people," an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna said.
There was no need for CPI-M leader Karat to make such a "hue and cry" on the ayurvedic medicines promoted by the spiritual leader and she could have raised the issue by making formal complaint to the government for action, it said.
"The CPI-M leader raising the issue only indicates the Communists' support to the multi-national companies," the editorial said.
There is no evidence to show that any harmful substance has been used in Baba Ramdev's ayurvedic medicines, it said.