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Business News/ News / India/  Has IIT-Bombay canteen turned ‘vegetarians only’? Here's what RTI queries reveal

Has IIT-Bombay canteen turned ‘vegetarians only’? Here's what RTI queries reveal

At IIT-Bombay's Hostel 12, posters stating ‘Only vegetarians are allowed to sit here’ were prominently exhibited in the canteen.

IIT-Bombay's Hostel 12 saw posters declaring, 'Only vegetarians are allowed to sit here'. (Twitter/@AppscIITb)Premium
IIT-Bombay's Hostel 12 saw posters declaring, 'Only vegetarians are allowed to sit here'. (Twitter/@AppscIITb)

Students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-Bombay) have raised concerns about food discrimination after posters with the message "vegetarians only are allowed to sit here" were displayed in a canteen at Hostel 12. The incident came to light when a photo of the posters went viral on social media.

The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), representing the students, condemned the incident and took action by tearing down the discriminatory posters. Their investigation through RTIs (Right to Information) and emails to the hostel's general secretary, it was revealed that there is no official policy for food segregation at the institute. 

Still, certain individuals took it upon themselves to designate specific mess areas as "vegetarians only", thereby forcing other students to leave those areas.

Also Read: IIT Bombay student who ended life had told mother about caste discrimination: Chargesheet

“The need to demarcate separate eating spaces with an idea of purity is to reinforce the superiority of savarnas on campus and deem their eating habits better than those of DBA students," APPSC IIT Bombay tweeted.

In response to the incident, the hostel's general secretary sent an email to all students, reminding them that such behaviour is unacceptable and goes against the core values of mutual respect and tolerance that the institution seeks to uphold. The email explicitly emphasises that no student has the right to remove another student from any area of the mess based on the grounds of community-based reservations.

What do RTI enquiries reveal?

RTI enquiries reveal that, in IIT Bombay, there are no separate hostels that have designated Jain food spaces in messes where non-vegetarian students are prohibited from taking egg or meat products. The university does not have such segregated facilities for Jain students seeking vegetarian food.

Furthermore, no penalties or punishments have been imposed on non-vegetarian students who may have mistakenly or intentionally brought non-vegetarian food into the messes' Jain food sections in any of the IIT Bombay hostels. The absence of punitive measures suggests a more inclusive and understanding approach towards dietary choices.

Also Read: Sudha Murty gets trolled for carrying food during foreign visits; Here's why

Regarding the decision-making process, there are no available minutes of meetings that indicate any official decision to create separate eating spaces for Jain students within the hostels. This implies that such initiatives might not have been formally proposed or agreed upon in the past.

The absence of fines collected for violating any rule related to non-vegetarian food in the Jain food sections, as per the RTI response, reinforces the idea that the university administration might not have enforced any stringent regulations in this regard. The lack of financial penalties indicates a lenient stance towards the matter.

Lastly, it appears that there are no specific measures taken by the messes in IIT Bombay to cook Jain food separately from the food served to other students. The absence of special arrangements for preparing Jain food indicates that the university may not have implemented such practices to segregate food preparation based on dietary preferences, as per RTI responses.

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 31 Jul 2023, 08:33 AM IST
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