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An Indian Politician Blames Beef for the Nepal Earthquake

A politician from India's ruling party blamed the recent earthquake in Nepal on a member of a rival party eating beef.

As relief efforts continue in the earthquake-ravaged Nepal, geologists are saying that the country is expected to experience even more earthquakes due to the region's proximity to two clashing tectonic plates. But let's ask a politician what he thinks caused the earthquake.

Beef, apparently.

Sakshi Maharaj of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in India blames the earthquake, which has killed more than 4,000 people since it struck last Saturday, on to a recent visit to Nepal by Rahul Gandhi of the opposing Indian National Congress party.


"Rahul Gandhi eats beef, and goes to the holy shrine without purifying himself. The earthquake was bound to happen," he told the Times of India on Monday.

Cows, which are seen as sacred animals within the Hindu religion, have become a hot-topic issue recently. In March, India's president signed a bill that banned the slaughter of cows, as well as the sale and consumption of beef in the state of Maharashtra. Anyone caught could face up to five years in prison. Opponents of the law say that it's discriminatory against the country's Muslim population, many of whom live in Maharashtra.

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Not surprisingly, the Congress is condemning those remarks. A party spokesperson told FP Politics, "…In a most unfortunate and petty manner, certain habitual motor mouth offenders of the BJP—cohorts of the Prime Minister and BJP President Amit Shah—are trying to communalize and politicize a grave human tragedy." The party has also asked Indian's prime minister Narendra Modi to take action against Maharaj.

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His comments have also angered people who accuse Maharaj of attacking the non-Hindu population. "The beef-eating comment was aimed at minorities," Global Council of Indian Christians president Sajan George told Asia News. "It is a way of politicizing religion…With their anti-Christian and anti-minority violence, these extremists have created fertile ground to intimidate the most vulnerable communities," he said.

In a shock to no one, this isn't the first time Maharaj's comments have got him into trouble. He's called Mahatma Ghandi's killer a "patriot and nationalist," supports the death penalty for people who slaughter cows and convert to another religion, and says that Hindu women should each have four children to keep the religion going. The BJP tried to distance itself from Maharaj for that last comment back in January by releasing a statement that it was his "personal opinion."