IIT Mandi Director Laxmidhar Behera has 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… 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…”It is having landslides, cloudbursts and many other things again and again, these are all effects of cruelty on animals…people eat meat,” Mr Behera said while addressing the students, a video of which is doing the rounds on social media.”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.There was no response from Mr Behera on the controversy. His comments attracted criticism from netizens.”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.Gautam Menon, a professor of biophysics, said, “In the current dispensation, having views like those of the director of IIT Mandi featured here is a feature, not a bug. It’s simply sad.” This is not the first time Behera has stir a row with his controversial comments. Last year, he hit the headlines for claiming that he was involved in an act of exorcism to rid his friend’s apartment and family of “evil spirits” by chanting “holy mantras”.