Lakshmi Dhar Behera, the Director of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, made statements linking meat consumption to virtue and environmental disasters.
In the video, Professor Behera can be seen addressing students, saying, “What do you have to do to be a good person? You don’t have to eat meat.” He then goes on to ask the students to take an oath, stating, “I will not eat meat.” The director further claims, “If the slaughter of innocent animals is not stopped, heavy rains and floods will continue in Himachal Pradesh.”
Professor Behera argues that there is a direct correlation between the consumption of meat and environmental degradation, stating, “There is a correlation between the slaughter of animals and the destruction of the environment, which you don’t see but it really is.” He goes on to make a more alarming assertion, saying, “you will see frequent occurrences of massive rockslides and other natural disasters like cloudbursts, etc. All this is because of this… cruelty.”
However, these statements have not been received without criticism. Ambrish Kumar Mahajan, a Professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Himachal Pradesh Central University, termed Professor Behera’s remarks as regrettable. Mahajan believes that the recent environmental disasters in Himachal Pradesh are primarily due to geological and anthropogenic causes, and not solely linked to meat consumption.
The controversial video has ignited a fierce debate on social media and within academic circles. Critics argue that while reducing meat consumption can be beneficial for the environment, attributing natural disasters solely to this factor is an oversimplification of complex environmental issues.
In response to the controversy, IIT Mandi issued a statement distancing itself from Professor Behera’s comments. The institute said that Professor Behera’s remarks were his personal opinions and did not represent the official stance of the institution. They also noted that IIT Mandi promotes a diverse and inclusive environment where different perspectives and beliefs are respected.