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'Fishy' Medicine Stirs Controversy

Hyderabad, June 6. Even as asthma patients from different parts of India have begun arriving here to take the famed fish medicine, rationalists have stepped up their campaign against the 'unscientific' treatment//.

Jana Vignana Vedika, a group of rationalists, has again urged the Andhra Pradesh government to stop patronising the event, saying consumption of the 'drug' was based on 'superstition'.

The Bathini family, which has been giving away the fish free of cost for the last 160 years as a cure for asthma, is busy making preparations for the annual event to be held here June 8-9.

The administration of the 'drug' will begin June 8 at 3.42 p.m. on the Mrigasira Karti of the Hindu calendar - or the onset of monsoon – and continue for 24 hours.

With controversy surrounding the efficacy of the medicine affecting the turnout in recent years, the Bathini family has renamed the fish medicine as 'prasadam' (holy offering) this year.

Like in the past, the government is making elaborate arrangements for the event at the sprawling Exhibition Grounds.

However, Jana Vignana Vedika and the Indian Medical Association want the government to put an end to the unscientific practice.

The Vedika Sunday held a meeting to expose the 'fishy claims' of the Bathini family. The rationalists and doctors argued that the so-called fish medicine had no medicinal value and warned that the drug could result in more complications for the patients.

The Bathini family has been giving the medicine free of cost. A yellow herbal paste is first put in the mouth of the three-cm-long murrel fish and it is then pushed down throat of the patient.

If taken for three successive years, the medicine is believed to cure asthma.

Despite demands from physicians to reveal the ingredients of the herbal paste and rationalists' allegations of fraud, the Bathini family has refused to reveal the contents
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