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India’s water minister says atheists cause floods (crazier theories prevail in Pakistan)

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The Uttarakhand floods of 2013 killed thousands of people.
  • Diksha Madhok
By Diksha Madhok

Editor and Director, Qz Platform, India

This article is more than 2 years old.

Uma Bharti, India’s water resources minister, has said the “underlying reason” behind the catastrophic floods in North India last year was human excretion. The natural disaster in 2013 was called “the Himalayan Tsunami” by the media. It killed over 6,000 people, mostly in Uttarakhand.

Flash floods and landslides also devastated the ancient Hindu pilgrimage site Kedarnath. Thousands of pilgrims were killed and the entire town surrounding the Kedarnath temple was submerged.

While discussing the reconstruction of the temple, India’s water resources minister told scientists at the Himalayan Institute of Glaciology and Forest Research that years of defecation by atheists near the shrine caused the floods.

“As time passed, atheists came here, mainly for business purposes. This resulted in nature’s fury at Kedarnath in 2013,” said Bharti, according to Hindustan Times newspaper. She said that excretion was prohibited in the natural boundary of the ancient temple.

Bharti is a firebrand Hindu leader who has served as chief minister in Madhya Pradesh. She fell out with the BJP leadership in 2004 and had left to form her own party. That experiment didn’t go off very well and she was reinstated into the BJP in 2011.

Water terrorism

Bharti isn’t the only one offering up exacting theories on environmental science in South Asia. Hafiz Saeed, India’s most wanted man, has described the floods in Jammu and Kashmir as “an act of open mischief” by India in a recent tweet.

Saeed, a Pakistani Islamist, is considered the mastermind behind the terror attack on Mumbai in 2008. He appears to be using the natural disaster as an opportunity to turn Pakistan’s public opinion against India.

The Kashmir floods have killed thousands in both India and Pakistan and is now considered the worst flood to hit the region in a century. Saeed has said the calamity is a result of “water terrorism” by India.

Saeed and his organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) are propagating that India discharged water from its upstream dams into their neighbouring country. Experts say that these floods were caused by unprecedented rains and are a reminder of the ravages of climate change.

“Don’t be fooled. This water bomb is no different from the atom bomb. It’s worse,” Abdur Rauf, who has worked as a JuD volunteer for 16 years, told Reuters in Pakistan.

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