Rally held supporting Chula professor facing probe for campaigning against use of chemicals in agriculture
Thailand’s famous “song for life” rocker Add Carabao was among a large group of supporters of a ban on two herbicides and a pesticide who rallied at Chulalongkorn Hospital on Thursday to offer moral support to Professor Dr. Thirawat Hemajutha, chief of the Information Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Thirawat, an outspoken advocate for the ban on paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos, is under investigation by Chulalongkorn University following a complaint made by Ms. Anchulee Lakamnuayporn, president of the voluntary network of Rak Mae Khlong lovers, accusing Dr. Thirawat of providing misleading information about the three toxic chemicals to the public in a way which paints farmers, the prime users of the chemicals, in a bad light.
She also claimed that Dr. Thirawat had implied that her network is suspected of being funded by chemical companies.
Supporters of Dr. Thirawat, who include former senator Rossana Kositrakul and Panthep Puapongpant of Rangsit University, insist that the information distributed by Dr. Thirawat is factual and not distorted, as claimed by his accusers.
They also threatened to sue Ms. Anchulee Lakamnuayporn if she does withdraw, what they claim are, her unfounded accusations.
Dr. Thirawat, however, said that he was not perturbed by the investigation and vowed to educate the public about the health risks posed by these chemicals.
Chulalongkorn University vice rector, Professor Boonchai Sathitmunnaitham, made it clear that a probe following a complaint is a normal part of the process, intended to establish the truth of the matter.
He said that most of the members of the investigating panel are university staff, though some outsiders with relevant expertise may be invited to present their opinions.