Hema Malini Image Credit:

Bollywood actress and politician Hema Malini claimed in a now-deleted video that performing a regular ‘havan’ (religious fire ceremony where neem leaves are burnt with salt and ghee) at home can ward off COVID-19 and is an effective antidote to the virus.

The ‘Dream Girl’ star doled out her unscientific advice on the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5 and claimed that doing such ceremonies cleanses the environment and has incredible power to ward off diseases. None of it is backed by scientific evidence.

Actress Hema Malini Image Credit: IANS

“I have been doing this for many years after offering puja. And, started doing it twice a day since the pandemic. It not only cleans the environment, but also gives a sense of purity, besides keeping diseases like corona out,” said Malini in that video. She also shared the recipe of how to do that ritual effectively. A concoction of neem leaves, ghee, mustard seeds, cloves and salt go into the burning mix. She also claimed that a ‘havan’ can expunge negativity from the air. She also urged her fans not to give a havan any religious or caste undertones.

“Today the entire world is struggling with the pandemic outbreak and the wrath of nature. I appeal to everyone to hold havan at home not only on environment day but almost every day till we defeat corona,” said Malini. The BJP MP from Mathura, also lauded its right-wing offshoot RSS Mathura wing, for initiating ‘havan’ in every household to mark World Environment Day.

Malini isn’t alone. In March 2020, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal urged his fans to practice collective clapping to kill the COVID-19 virus. He was blasted for his take and a barrage of online criticism came his way. Just like him, Malini wasn’t immune to trolls following her video, which has been deleted.

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“Clapping together is a big process. The sound produced is like a mantram (chant) and there is a possibility that many bacteria and virus is likely to be destroyed. Let it all get destroyed,” said Mohanlal at that time in a televised interview.