Vadakkanchery’s arrest embroiled in controversy

Civil rights activists say the arrest will set a wrong precedent

The arrest of ‘naturopathy’ practitioner Jacob Vadakkanchery, on the charge of impeding the Health Department's efforts to contain leptospirosis outbreak after the recent floods, continues to be embroiled in controversy.

Civil rights activists and academics such as Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, Binayak Sen and T.T. Sreekumar had come out in support of Mr. Vadakkanchery, claiming that his arrest “will set a wrong precedent.” They claimed that “it is another example of intolerance towards voices of dissent.”

Practitioners of modern medicine, however, objected to it saying that the police action could not be “construed as a denial of the democratic right of citizens to dissent” as Mr. Vadakkanchery's campaign against prophylactic drug doxycycline would have disastrous consequences. Ms. Roy and the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan later came up with a clarification that “campaigns against emergency medical measures and the airing of contentious differences over the State campaign for medical care are ill-timed.”

Mr. Vadakkanchery was arrested from Tripunithura last week after he posed a video on Facebook against the alleged side-effects of doxycycline, prescribed as a preventive medicine by the Health Department. He is now in judicial custody. The civil rights activists pointed out that he had been campaigning against the alleged ill-effects of allopathic medicines, their unquestioned use and over-dependance. If there were any illogical points in his remarks, it could have been scientifically challenged, they contended.

However, modern medicine practitioners, such as B. Ekbal, former Professor, neurosurgery, and K.P. Aravindan, former professor, pathology, among others, claimed that Mr. Vadakkanchery was not a crusader against the commercialisation and exploitation of the medical establishment.

They said he treated patients for diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer without any qualification whatsoever, sometimes with disastrous results. He had been punished by the Consumer Redressal Forum, Kozhikode, following the death of a patient at his centre. They claimed that the vaccination rates dropped in some of the northern districts where his anti-immunisation campaign was at its height. Cases of diphtheria reappeared, and a few children died. During the Nipah epidemic, he had declared that there was nothing such as the Nipah virus and the whole thing was a hoax.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 8:45:46 AM |

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