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‘Landslides, cloudbursts happen in Himachal Pradesh as people eat meat…’: IIT Mandi director makes shocking claim


IIT Mandi director Laxmidhar Behera made waves on Thursday after linking weather incidents in Himachal Pradesh to the consumption of meat. As the top professor explained to students during a recent address, the ‘butchering of innocent animals’ had a unseen yet ‘symbiotic relationship with the degradation of the environment’. The debate has since taken a political turn as a video of Professor Behera urging students to turn vegetarian went viral.

“…you cannot see right now but is there. It is having landslides, cloudbursts and many other things again and again, these are all effects of cruelty on animals…people eat meat. To become good human beings, what you have to do? No to meat-eating,” he explained.

Behera also asked the students to vow not to eat meat. 

While the IIT professor is yet to respond, netizens have been vocal in their criticism of his views. While some flagged his role as an educator others attempted to reason scientifically with the academic. 

“Director of an IIT. Why is Himachal having landslides? Because of unplanned construction/deforestation/climate change/all of the above? No. Because of meat-eating. Is he saying farming animals leads to deforestation? No. He says it leads to cloudbursts,” derided one user on X (née Twitter).

As the video gained traction it also became a talking point for Opposition politicians on Thursday evening. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh asserted that Behera was unfit to be the director of an IIT and the longer he stayed in office the “more the damage he will do to the spirit of scientific temper”.

“”The PM spoke of plastic surgery being known to our ancestors. He also told children climate has not changed, while we have. A senior Minister confused Newton and Einstein while another justified excluding Darwin from textbooks…Now, this simply flabbergasting statement from the Director of a prestigious institution!!! He actually has shown he is not fit to hold the position. The longer he stays, more the damage he will do to the spirit of scientific temper,” Ramesh wrote on social media.


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Updated: 08 Sep 2023, 05:48 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.