Devotees offer prayers to a cow in India. Cow slaughter is banned in many of the northern states. REUTERS

India's minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi has claimed that money earned from illegal animal slaughter is funding terrorism.

She cited a study handed to the Uttar Pradesh police in north India that shows the money was siphoned off to sponsor terrorist organisations in the country.

"Money through trade of slaughtered animals goes into terrorism, therefore goes into killing us, why are we allowing this?"

She, however, clarified that it was not any single community but people from all sections who were involved in slaughtering cows, reports the Times of India.

Slaughter of cows, which are considered holy by several communities, is strictly banned in many of the northern states.

Gandhi, who served as environment minister in her previous stint, is a well-known animal lover and activist.

Addressing an "India for Animals" conference in the Rajasthan capital Jaipur, she expressed concern that India was the world's largest beef exporter.

While the directive principles of the Indian Constitution suggest that the states take steps to ban cow slaughter, it has not been enforced in many of the southern states.

'Love jihad'
Terror also raised its head in other controversial debates across the country with a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Sakshi Maharaj, alleging that students in "madrasas" across the country are not being taught about nationalism but were imparted an "education of terror" and "love jihad".

Claiming that he had information through some of his students who had converted as well as from other Muslims, the member of parliament alleged huge sums are being offered for converting girls, using the ruse of love.

His main contention stemmed from the fact that none of the "madrasas" hoisted the national flag on national events, reports the Indian Express.