Even as India continued to record an unprecedented number of Covid-19 deaths across the country amid the second wave, a BJP leader has been facing flak for suggesting a bizarre and unscientific solution for preventing the third wave of coronavirus. Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Usha Thakur recently advised conducting ‘yagna chikitsa’ (treatment by ceremonial fire) to prevent the third wave of Covid-19.
The bizarre suggestion came during the inauguration of a new Covid-care centre in the city of Indore. Addressing the media during the press conference at the launch event, Thakur said that people should perform ‘yagna chikitsa‘ and purify their environment in order to terminate Covid-19. She also said that this was a traditional technique of purifying the air and added that the third was inevitable, performing the yagna for four days straight will help mitigate the crisis.
“In earlier times, our ancestors used to perform yagna chikitsa to get rid of pandemics. Let us all purify the environment, the third wave of Covid will not even touch India," Thakur was quoted by media reports as saying. “According to experts, this wave will attack the children first. For this, complete preparations are being made by the Madhya Pradesh Government. We will overcome the pandemic successfully," she further added.
This, however, is not the first time that Thakur has faced flak for not wearing mask in public, making unscientific claims regarding coronavirus and performing public gimmicks in an attempt to ‘tackle’ the pandemic.
Mask-less Puja at Airport
Last month, the tourism and culture minister was spotted at the Indore Airport, performing puja in front of a statue to ward off Covid without wearing a mask. Thakur was seen performing puja in front of a statue of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar at the airport while clapping and singing.
Speaking at an event held on March 8 at the Indore Press Club, Thakur stressed the need for adopting Vedic lifestyle for protection against coronavirus, and claimed that ‘havan’ (ritual burning) of a cow dung cake can keep a house sanitised for 12 hours. “This is science," Thakur had said at the time.
Thakur has often been criticised for not wearing a mask in public. Last month, she was seen visiting Covid-care centres in Bagli without wearing a face mask. Thakur had previously told media that she did not need to wear a mask because she performed ‘yajna‘ daily and regularly recited the Hanuman Chalisa to defend herself from the virus.
No stranger to controversy
Coronavirus in the only topic upon which Thalur has made controversial comments before. In October last year, Thakur claimed that all terrorists and radicals have studied in madrassas at some point. She had also supported the controversial ripped jeans comment of Uttarakhand CM earlier this year by saying that ripped jeans caused ‘apshagun’ (bad omen).
Meanwhile, cases of coronavirus continued to rise in Madhya Pradesh with the administration in Bhopal extending lockdown in the region till May 17. Black fungus, scientifically known as Mucormycosis, has also emerged as the fresh headache for the Covid-19 patients in Madhya Pradesh after several states reported the condition in the recent past. State capital Bhopal has reported at least seven cases, six in state-run Hamidia hospital while one patient is admitted to a private hospital in the city.
On Monday, the state reported 9,715 fresh cases with a reduced test positivity rate of 15.8% and the rate of increase of fresh cases too has dwindled to 1.8%. Total of 7,324 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals on Monday. Datia and Shivpuri have emerged as fresh hotspots and CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has ordered special attention in these districts.