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Thursday, October 22, 2020

‘Cow dung reduces radiation’: In open letter, 400 scientists seek evidence

"Further, as the Aayog is a public-funded body, if these claims were made without scientific backing... can be construed as misutilisation of public money, particularly in a time when every sector of the country is struggling for funding," it added.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | October 16, 2020 2:33:41 am
'Cow dung reduces radiation': In open letter, 400 scientists seek evidenceSpeaking to The Indian Express, IIT-Bombay professor Abhijit Majumder said, “Science is based on evidence and not claims. We are not stating that the claim is false, but we have asked for evidence that proves that the claim is scientific in nature."

Over 400 scientists from across the country on Thursday endorsed an open letter to the chairman of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog, Vallabhbhai Kathiria, questioning his source of information after he claimed that keeping cow dung cake in homes reduces radiation.

On October 13, Kathiria had told mediapersons that a “cow dung chip” has been produced, which can reduce radiation when kept on a cellphone.

The letter by scientists associated with IIT-Bombay, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, among others, asked: “You continued your speech claiming that all your statements are ‘scientifically proven’. Where and when were the said scientific experiments done? Who were the principal investigators? Where were the findings published? If it was in a research journal, was it peer-reviewed? Can the data and experimental details be provided?”

It also raised queries about the amount of public funding awarded for this research, and details of the funding agency that sponsored it.

“If in case you do not have the valid data to support your claims, then your press conference is equivalent to propagating superstition and pseudoscience, which goes against the Article 51A (h) of the Constitution that says ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform’,” the letter said.

“Further, as the Aayog is a public-funded body, if these claims were made without scientific backing… can be construed as misutilisation of public money, particularly in a time when every sector of the country is struggling for funding,” it added.

Speaking to The Indian Express, IIT-Bombay professor Abhijit Majumder said, “Science is based on evidence and not claims. We are not stating that the claim is false, but we have asked for evidence that proves that the claim is scientific in nature.”

The Aayog was set up in 2019 for the protection, promotion and conservation of indigenous cattle.

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