Labour Law Violations and Animal Parts in Medicines
In March 2005, 113 employees of Divya Yoga Mandir Trust, Haridwar started an agitation for minimum wages and employees's rights such as coverage under the Provident Fund and Employees' State Insurance schemes. After a tripartite meeting, an agreement was reached between the workers, management and the district administration. However, some agitating workers were dismissed by the Trustees after being alleged to be responsible for sabotage. Their case was taken up by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). They are still to be reinstated.
Brinda Karat, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was involved with the protesters and was told by disgruntled workers that animal parts were used in the manufacture of some medicines. In January 2006, she accused the Divya Pharmacy, owned by Divya Yog Mandir Trust for using human and animal bones in their medicines. Samples of the medicines Kulya Bhasm (Mixture) and Yauvanamrit Vati purchased from Brahmakalp Chikitsalaya- the Trust's Hospital at Haridwar were tested at government labs and the presence of animal materials in the sample was confirmed. However, the source of the samples was disputed, as these had been supplied by Karat to the labs and not procured by government officials. Karat produced what were claimed to be the prescription and cash receipt obtained from the medicine counter for the samples provided.
Her controversial remarks drew strong condemnation from several politicians in North India, like Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Narayan Dutt Tiwari. Subsequently she received a legal notice on the behalf of a BJP leader in Faridabad.
A few months later in 2006, four samples were sent to the government recognized Shriram Institute of Industrial Research in Delhi. Negating the report from this institute the Union Health Ministry said to have found animal DNA in the samples, although most of the newspapers carried reports to the contrary.
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