The much-hyped arsenic issue took a new turn with a team of academics attached to the Science Faculty of Kelaniya University criticizing some of their fellow academics who attributed their research findings on the cause of the kidney disease in Rajarata to advice from divine forces.
Earlier, Dean of the Science Faculty of the Kelaniya University Prof. Nalin de Silva had stated arsenic was the main cause of the disease, and he based his research findings on advice from a divine power called in normal jargon ‘Natha Deviyo’. However, a group of 49 academics of the Faculty including all the senior professors have written to Vice Chancellor Prof. Sarath Amunugama saying that such statements have tarnished the image of the entire Faculty.
They have noted in their letter that the Faculty of Science of the University of Kelaniya waswell known both nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence which dispenses knowledge of Science by producing a large number of eminent scientists since its inception in 1967.
The letter says:
“It has been accepted practice of the researchers of the faculty to publish their findings at academic conferences, seminars and in internationally accepted peer reviewing journals. It is a known fact that these research results often receive high recognition in academic circles, nationally and internationally.
“It has been stated over and over again by some members of this research group over the media that these research results have been based on assumptions and advice received from divine godly forces.
“At times the present dean of the Faculty of Science, the leader of this research group, had also openly stated to the media that they do not accept the principles and methodology of the globally recognized scientific methods taught within the Faculty of Science.
“It is evident that these statements and actions have led to a very bad impression about the University of Kelaniya in general and the Faculty of Science in particular, among the public and the scientific community. Not only does this situation degrade the reputation of the Faculty which was achieved with great effort in the last 45 years, but also jeopardizes the recognition of the graduates passing out from the Faculty in future.”
The academics have stressed that they conduct their researches only according to the internationally accepted standards and practices.