Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal launched 'Bhabhi Ji Papad', which claims to be an immunity booster | Video screengrab
Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal launched 'Bhabhi Ji Papad', which claims to be an immunity booster | Video screengrab
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New Delhi: Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal Friday announced the launch of a new local papad called ‘Bhabhi ji papad’, which he claimed had ingredients that boosted one’s immunity and would help fight the novel coronavirus.

In a video showing Meghwal, wearing a mask, announcing the launch, the minister can be heard claiming that Bhabhi Ji papad would help “develop antibodies” in the human body.

“This papad has ingredients which helps develop antibodies that can fight Covid-19 when consumed,” he said.

According to the packaging of the product, the papad claims to be an ‘immunity booster’ and is made with ingredients such as turmeric, black pepper, black cumin, tulsi leaves, hing (asafoetida), moong dal, urad dal, salt, saji and spices.

Meghwal is the Member of Parliament from Bikaner.

Taking to Twitter, Meghwal said that papads and bhujiya from Bikaner were very famous and he encouraged everybody to talk about local products in their area under the atmanirbhar initiative to be “vocal for local”.

Meghwal further decided to start a thread and tagged other BJP leaders such as Prahlad Joshi, Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani, Gajendra SIngh Shekhawat, Prahlad Singh Patel and others to join him in getting vocal about the famous local products in their area and constituency.

Also read: Just 45 healthy cases, interim results, no peer review ⁠— how Patanjali found ‘Covid cure’

Meghwal stokes controversy

Meghwal’s video garnered criticism for his remarks that the papad could helped fight coronavirus, especially given that there was no scientific evidence to back the claim.

However, he isn’t the first to do so.

Assam BJP MLA Suman Haripriya said that gobar and gaumutra (cow dung and cow urine) could be a cure for Covid-19 as they already helped in the treatment of cancer. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said that yoga could be a potential cure for coronavirus along with less mental stress.

The Modi government has been encouraging its AYUSH ministry and practitioners to “create awareness on India’s traditional medicines and medical practices all over the world”.

In May, the ministry considered conducting a study on 50 lakh people to find “evidence” about the efficacy of alternative medicines to fight Covid-19. This was apart from plans to test whether ayurvedic substances like ashwagandha, mulethi and guduchi could help fight the disease.

However, the AYUSH ministry — which stands for ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha, sowa rigpa and homeopathy —  has faced repeated criticism for propounding pseudoscientific medicines as alternative medicines.

Meghwal’s endorsement for the papad comes at a time scientists around the world have been working and conducting human trials to develop a vaccine and treatment options for Covid-19.

In India itself, the process has begun to conduct clinical trials of the indigenously made Covaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

In the absence of a scientifically established treatment, the virus has spread to more that 1.5 crore people across the world. India, which has the world’s third highest number of cases, reported nearly 13 lakh cases Friday morning, of which more than 4.4 lakh cases are active.

A recent serological survey in the national capital showed that one in four people had been infected by Covid until the first week of July.

Also read: Modi govt advises homoeopathy, Unani to prevent coronavirus that has no known cure yet


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