The Director of IIT Mandi, Laxmidhar Behera, has claimed that the cloudbursts and landslides in Himachal Pradesh are happening because of the killing of animals for food. He has also asked students to take a pledge not to eat meat. “Himachal Pradesh will have a significant downfall…if we do. Not stop butchering animals. You are butchering animals there… the innocent animals. It has a symbiotic relationship with the degradation of the environment as well… which you cannot see right now but is there…
“To become good human beings, what you have to do? No to meat eating,” he further said and then went on to ask the students to vow not to eat meat.
However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, experts say that the main causes of landslides in Himachal Pradesh are human-made, such as deforestation, construction in sensitive areas, and mining.
Deforestation can lead to landslides because trees help to bind the soil together. When trees are cut down, the soil becomes more susceptible to erosion and landslides. Construction in sensitive areas can also lead to landslides, as it can disrupt the natural drainage of water. Mining can also destabilise slopes and lead to landslides.
“The collapse is complete. These superstitious fools will destroy whatever little was built in 70 years,” Sandeep Manudhane, an entrepreneur and IIT Delhi alumni, said on X.
In addition to these human-made causes, landslides can also be caused by natural factors, such as heavy rainfall, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
Gautam Menon, a professor of biophysics, said, "It is simply sad that in the current political climate, having views like those of the director of IIT Mandi is not a bug, but a feature." This is not the first time Behera has stirred up controversy with his comments. Last year, he made headlines for claiming that he had performed an exorcism on his friend's apartment and family by chanting "holy mantras."