"Vegetarians Only" Posters At IIT Bombay Canteen Walls Spark Row

"Vegetarians Only" Posters At IIT Bombay Canteen Walls Spark Row

Students have raised the issue of food discrimination at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) after “vegetarians only” posters were put up on the walls of a canteen in one of the hostels, a student representative said on Sunday.

Posters stating “vegetarians only are allowed to sit here” were put up on the walls of the canteen of hostel 12 at the prestigious institution last week, and a photograph of the same went viral on social media.

An official from the institute claimed that while they had found out about the posters, they did not know who had put them up in the canteen.

There are no fixed seats for people consuming different categories of food and the institute is unaware about who put up the posters, he said.

Representatives of the student collective Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) condemned the incident and tore the posters.

“Though RTIs and emails to the hostel's general secretary revealed that there is no policy for food segregation at the institute, some individuals have taken it upon themselves to designate certain mess areas as ‘vegetarians only' and force other students to leave that area,” the AAPSC said.

Following the incident, the hostel's general secretary sent an email to all students saying, “There is a counter for Jain distribution in the hostels mess, but there is no designated sitting space for those who consume Jain food.” There have been reports of individuals forcefully designating certain areas of the mess as “Jain sitting space” and not allowing individuals who bring non-vegetarian food to sit in those areas, the general secretary wrote.

“Such behaviour is unacceptable and no student has the right to remove another student from any area of the mess on the grounds that it is reserved for a particular community. If any such incident is repeated, we will be forced to take strict action against those involved,” he stated in the email.