The Director of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi, Laxmidhar Behera, has sparked controversy once again, this time for linking landslides and cloudbursts in Himachal Pradesh to meat consumption. In a video circulating online, Behera urged students in an auditorium to abstain from eating meat to become better individuals.
"To become a good human being, what do you have to do?" Behera asked the students, to which he responded, "Say no to meat-eating" and encouraged them to take an oath against consuming meat. He expressed concerns about the impact of slaughtering innocent animals on Himachal Pradesh's well-being, suggesting a symbiotic relationship between animal cruelty and environmental degradation.
While the exact date of Behera's speech remains unknown, it quickly gained attention when uploaded to YouTube and went viral. Critics, including Ambrish Kumar Mahajan, a geologist from the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, argued that recent disasters in Himachal Pradesh were the result of geological factors and human activities. Mahajan pointed to tectonic plate movements, fragile regional ecology, heavy rainfall, and anthropogenic factors like construction and waste disposal as contributing factors to landslides and cloudbursts.
Amidst the controversy, entrepreneur and IIT Delhi alumnus Sandeep Manudhane expressed frustration, commenting, "The collapse is complete. These superstitious fools will destroy whatever little was built in 70 years." Meanwhile, Gautam Menon, a professor of biophysics, lamented the prevalence of such views, suggesting that Behera's remarks reflect a broader trend in the current discourse.
It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Laxmidhar Behera has attracted attention for his controversial comments. Previously, he made headlines for claiming involvement in an exorcism to rid a friend's apartment of "evil spirits" by chanting "holy mantras."