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Arrest of Kerala anti-pharma MNC activist: Left Front govt throttling dissent, says NAPM

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the arrest of Jacob Vadakkanchery, a practitioner and advocate of naturopathy, purportedly on the directions from Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja, the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has said it is "another example of intolerance towards voices of dissent and an attempt to throttle them."
The arrest is said to be for “sharing misleading information on rat fever” and “questioned the authenticity of the leptospirosis preventive medicine prescribed by the government”. Jacob is a known critic of the over dependence and unquestioned use and promotion of allopathic medicines, without disclosing the side effects of the same. He has questioned the mighty and powerful pharmaceutical companies for spreading panic among public to amass profit at the cost of human lives.
Last week "The Indian Express" reported that the Indian arm of Johnson & Johnson, the giant pharma company, deliberately suppressed key facts on the harmful aftermath of surgeries conducted on few thousands of patients in the country using faulty hip replacement systems it imported and sold. The revelation forms the core of a report by a committee set up by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to investigate complaints related to the hip implant devices sold there.
"Yet, not action is taken against the company. No officials arrested. They are merely recommended to pay compensation for the victims", an NAPM statement signed by Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy and other activists said. "Voices critical of such exploitation of people needs to be encouraged, not arrested. Encouraging voices of dissent is a sign of healthy democracy, not putting them behind bars."
The statement underlined, "At a time when the Union Government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at war with all voices of dissent, rampantly arresting people who pose inconvenient questions threatening Constitutional values and flouting human rights blatantly, the Kerala Government led by the progressive Left parties moving the same direction as Prime Minister Modi when it comes to dealing with dissent is appalling and not expected from the Left Front."

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