‘Resign and apologise’: CPI (M) to IIT-Mandi director for linking meat-eating and landslides

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh unit of CPI (M) on Sunday sought resignation and unconditional apology from the director of IIT-Mandi, Dr. Laxmidhar Behera, for his comments that landslides and cloudbursts are effects of cruelty on animals by people who eat meat.
In a letter to the IIT Mandi director, CPI (M) state secretary Onkar Shad said that his views on meat-eating have proved “beyond doubt that there is no guarantee that one being in an elite technology institute has scientific vision.” Terming Behera’s views as unscientific and contradictory to professional values and ethics, the CPI (M) leader said that it was an act of “unprofessional conduct” to force personal views on students and ask them to not eat meat.
A copy of the letter has also been sent to the a Union minister and the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister.
Behera stirred a controversy after he asked students to take a pledge not to eat meat while claiming that landslides and cloudbursts in Himachal Pradesh are happening because of cruelty on animals.
“Himachal Pradesh will have a significant downfall…if we do not stop butchering animals. You are butchering animals there… innocent animals. It has a symbiotic relationship with the degradation of the environment as well… which 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,” Behera said addressing the students. A video of his address surfaced online after the incident was reported on Thursday.
“To become good human beings, what do 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.
The letter said that the people of Himachal Pradesh have been eating meat “for ages”, asking the IIT-Mandi director “why cloudbursts and landslides of the present magnitude did not happen for centuries.” The director has willfully skirted the issue of climate change, unimaginable rainfall, fragile nature of Himalayas, and anthropogenic causes behind this recent disaster, the letter said.
“Do you not see blunders of reckless hill cutting for four-laning of roads, adverse impact of hydroelectric dams and depleted carrying capacity of the hills due to undue expansion and unplanned growth of hill towns,” Shad added in the letter.
Attacking people’s food habits, cultural values, lifestyles, and hurting their sentiments is an insult to the people of the state, Shad said, demanding that the director issue an unconditional apology to the 80 lakh people of Himachal Pradesh.
The CPI (M) leader also asked Behera whether he would abandon the projects on curbing natural disasters and return the grant money to funding agencies and fight the natural disasters “with his unscientific views.”

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