New Delhi: In what can leave the rationalists completely baffled, the Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has reportedly claimed that defecation near the pious Kedarnath shrine had caused June 2013 Uttarakhand's devastating floods that killed dozens.
An English daily has quoted Bharti as saying that atheists who came to the holy site defecated near the natural boundary formed by the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers which flowed near the shrine in 1882.
Bharti, who visited the state to meet Dehradun-based Himalayan Institute of Glaciology and Forest Research Institute experts, said that the disrespect of the holy place resulted in nature wrath.
Although the BJP's senior leader also mentioned cloudburst and heavy rains as the prime cause, she specifically pointed at the defecation near the site as one of the reasons, the report said.
Bharti's statement drew criticism and sarcasm on various social networking sites
Meanwhile, the minister has asked the Forest Research Institute and the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education here to pool in their vast resources and expertise for the restoration of Himalayan ecology and rejuvenation of the Ganga.
"If the FRI and ICFRE harness their vast resources and expertise for restoring the over-exploited Himalayan ecology and rejuvenating the Ganga, I have no doubt that the mission will be achieved," she said addressing officers of FRI and ICFRE here.
(With PTI inputs)