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Siddha Doctors staged a protest at Arignar Anna Government Hospital, Arumbakkam

CHENNAI: Four years after the Tamil Nadu government passed an order allowing practitioners of traditional Indian medicine to prescribe allopathic drugs, siddha graduates say they are still being harassed by police who label them as 'quacks.' 

On Tuesday, based on a complaint filed by an allopathic doctor, police conducted a raid at a siddha clinic run by Dr.Asha Banu, treasurer of Indian Siddha Medical Graduates Association (ISMGA) in Trichy. 

Siddha practitioners said this was not a one-off case. 

They staged a protest at Arignar Anna Government Hospital of Indian Medicine in Arumbakkam here on Wednesday to highlight their plight. 

Dr.Padmaram Chandra, national secretary of ISMGA, said it was hard for them to practise because of frequent police interference. 

"We all are graduates, awarded our degrees by The TN Dr.MGR Medical University, Chennai. It is unfair that we constantly harassed by police based on a dubious complaint someone files," said Dr.Chandra, demanding the state government's intervention. 

"We are not quacks. We went through four and a half years of training and a year's training as house surgeons. We are no less than allopathic doctors," he said. 

On September 8, 2010, the state government issued an order stating that institutionally qualified practitioners of the Indian systems of medicine such as siddha, ayurveda, homoeopathy and unani were eligible to practise modern scientific medicine based on their training and teaching. 

The state has undergraduate colleges of Indian medicine and postgraduate siddha colleges, where allopathic doctors teach anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, anaesthesia, general medicine and surgery. 

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