Cowadunga! India’s cow commission doubles down on dung chip use for radiation-free life

NEW DELHI: India’s National Cow Commission (NCC) has doubled down on its claims that a chip made with dung can “significantly” counter radiation from mobile phones, amid mounting anger among the scientific community.

The NCC was established by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government last year and is tasked with making medicines and soaps using cow dung, among other things. According to its website, the federal body’s role involves the “conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny.”

The commission does not make the dung chip but has said that the item, if stored in a cell phone, can reduce radiation.

“The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA or NCC) has not made this chip, this chip has been in existence for many years and those who work in the bovine sector make it,” Pureesh Kumar, NCC media official, told Arab News on Wednesday. His comment follows similar claims from NCC chief and parliamentarian, Vallabhbhai Kathiria, on Monday.

“We have seen that if you keep this chip in your mobile, it reduces radiation significantly,” Kathiria told a news conference. “Cow dung is anti-radiation. It protects all. If you bring this home your place will become radiation-free ... All this has been approved by science,” he said.

Kathiria added that although the chips had not been certified by any scientific body, they had been tested in laboratories.

“You can test its effectiveness in any laboratory and even in colleges,” he said. “Over 500 gaushalas (cow shelters) are making these anti-radiation chips.”

Scientists, however, said they were outraged by the government’s claims, with the Federation of Indian Rationalist Association (FIRA) describing the assertions as “reckless” and “highly unscientific.”

“The government is not only reckless but highly unscientific,” FIRA’s M. N. Buddha told Arab News. “What kind of nation (do) we want to be? It’s sad that the government ministers and officials promote ignorance. If cow dung can stop radiation, then the government should ask the nuclear plants in India to rear cows in their backyard and all the residents of the nearby colonies should also be asked to have cows at home.”

Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti, from the Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum, said there was no scientific basis for the claim made by the government and that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been making unscientific claims for “quite some time.”

“We feel so disheartened and outraged by the claims of the minister in the government which say that traditional Ayurveda can cure COVID-19,” he told Arab News.

Kumar said that nobody could deny the benefit of the cow dung chip.

“The head of the RKA never claimed that there exists scientific proof. People who have started getting headaches due to constant exposure to mobile radiation are now relieved after the use of the cow dung chip in their mobile,” he said, before adding a caveat. “Such things should not come to the public domain unless scientists certify that, but no one can deny the benefit of the cow dung chip.”

Social media users mocked the NCC claims. One user asked: “Will Vallabhbhai Katharia paste cow dung on the walls of his office and home?”

Many Hindus revere the cow and some believe that its by-products, such as urine, promote overall health and wellbeing.

However Bhati said the latest claim from the NCC was part of the ruling party’s plan to polarise the country.

“The BJP government’s whole agenda revolves around religion. The cow is revered by Hindus and the government wants to exploit the religious sentiments of people at the cost of science,” he said.

It is not the first time the government has made questionable claims without scientifically proven studies.

On Oct. 6, Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan championed the use of Ayurvedic remedies for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus and hailed their “immunity-boosting” properties.

“Ayurveda has a holistic approach toward disease management wherein salutogenesis is a major approach towards treatment of a disease condition and its prevention,” he said at the time, before releasing an official document on the use of Ayurveda and yoga for virus symptoms and prevention.

Two days later the Indian Medical Association, a top organization with almost 400,000 members, blamed him for “inflicting fraud” on the nation.

“He is inflicting a fraud on the nation and gullible patients by calling placebos as drugs,” the association’s national president Rajan Sharma said in a statement.

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