Indian education minister believes cows ‘inhale and exhale oxygen’


Indian education minister Vasudev Devnani has said that cow is the only animal that ‘inhales and exhales oxygen’ and that people need to understand its ‘scientific significance’, Hindustan Times reported.

“There is a need to understand the scientific significance of the cow and ensure that the message reaches all people,” Devnani said on Saturday during a programme organised at the Hingonia Cow Rehabilitation Centre.

Cows are revered by Hindus and slaughtering them is illegal in most Indian states. Several states also bar the sale and possession of beef, and there has been a recent upsurge in attacks by vigilantes from the Hindu right on people suspected of killing cows. The government has been accused of failing to rein in Hindu hardliners, while its ministers have at times appeared to be inflaming the debate.

In July last year, two Muslim women were beaten up at a railway station in central India on suspicion of carrying beef. The two women were subsequently arrested, but tests found that the meat was actually buffalo.

The incident came days after a group of low-caste Hindu men were beaten by vigilantes in the western state of Gujarat on suspicion of killing a cow — a charge they denied. The men said they were taking the dead cow to be skinned — a task commonly given to low-caste villagers in India, where the animals roam freely.

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