The government should come up with a clarification on various claims by some BJP leaders that cow dung and ‘gomutra’ (cow urine) can ward off coronavirus, NCP MP Vandana Chavan told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday . She was reacting to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s statement on the steps taken by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 .
She was ticked off by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu who said no unnecessary controversy should be created.
Ms. Chavan said, “Sir, there has been a talk that using gomutra and cow dung cakes etc. is useful in eradicating it [the coronavirus]. I think scientific research needs to be done.” Before she could complete her sentence, she was interrupted by Mr. Naidu.
“It is up to the people, we are not here to force anything on them,” the Chairman told her, leading to uproar from members . Mr. Naidu said no controversy should be created on such a sensitive issue. “It is your belief,” he said. Speaking to The Hindu outside Parliament, Ms. Chavan said: “... The government should not allow any one to spread such misinformation,” she said.
Assam BJP MLA, Suman Haripriya, told the State Assembly on Monday, “We all know that cow dung is very helpful. Likewise, when cow urine is sprayed, it purifies an area... I believe something similar could be done with ‘gomutra’ and ‘gobar’ to cure coronavirus.” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the same day had said the virus could be eliminated by practising Yoga.
Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party leader Derek O’ Brien said, “We assure the Centre of all cooperation to protect mothers, children, brothers and sisters of our country, and not to get into a situation of panic.” Elaborating his statement outside Parliament, he said, “At the same time, we must also think about mothers, sisters, children, brothers who died last month in Delhi genocide without having the virus.”
Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh suggested that thermal scanners be put up at different gates in Parliament. “People from many States and guests from foreign countries come here,” he said.
MPs from Tamil Nadu, Vaiko (MDMK) and Vijila Satyanath (AIADMK) raised the issue of 900 Indian fishermen stranded near the Iran coast because of COVID-19. Of these 700 are from Tamil Nadu.
TMC MP Sukendu Sekhar Ray suggested that since hand sanitisers and masks are being sold at exorbitant prices, the government should ensure that these were distributed through PDS all over the country at affordable price. DMK MP Tiruchi Siva suggested that masks should be distributed in airlines. Nominated MP Swapan Dasgupta said the Health Ministry should be empowered to put restrictions on large gatherings.