India’s water resources minister, Uma Bharti, recently said the underlying cause of the catastrophic floods that hit North India in 2013 was atheists defecating near the holy shrine at Kedarnath, one of the most revered pilgrimage sites, that draw thousands of devotees each year.
The natural disaster, which was dubbed as ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ by the media, killed more than 6,000 people, most of whom lived in the state of Uttarakhand. Landslides and flash floods that accompanied the heavy downpour also happened to devastate Kedarnath, an ancient pilgrimage site for Hindus. Not only did thousands of pilgrims lose their lives during the catastrophe, the entire town surrounding the temple found itself submerged underwater for weeks.
While discussing details about the temple’s reconstruction, Bharti told scientists at Dehradun’s Himalayan Institute of Glaciology and Forest Research that the floods were a result of God’s wrath after atheists defecated near the holy shrine for years. According to her, defecating within the natural boundaries of the ancient temple is considered sacrilegious.
“As time passed, atheists came here, mainly for business purposes. This resulted in nature’s fury at Kedarnath in 2013,” said Bharti.
She also said that she wants to give a no-man’s land status to the area surrounding the shrine, a practice that existed before 1882. Bharti is a radical Hindu leader, who has previously served as chief minister of one of India’s largest states, Madhya Pradesh. Her unscientific and illogical statement came only a few days after Maneka Gandhi, her ministerial colleague, said that funds acquired from illegal cow slaughter were being used to fund Islamic terrorism.
Photo Credit: The Kashmir Monitor