A letter to students of a hostel at IIT-Bombay with the suggestion that they use separate plates in their mess for non-vegetarian food has kicked up a row in the institute. The email, sent by the mess council of the hostel in the Indian Institute of Technology, said there were demands from many students that those who ate non-vegetarian food needed to use separate plates.
“Therefore, this is a request to all non-veg eaters to please only use the tray type plates meant specially for non-veg dishes during dinner. Please do not use the main plates for non-veg dishes,” the January 12 email said. After angry reactions, the mess council said in a statement on Monday that the email was only sent to reiterate a rule which is already in place.
“For years, non-vegetarian food has been served in a separate plate and we only asked students to maintain the rule. This was not meant to offend anyone,” a council member said. A resident of the hostel, which has some 300 students, said all messes had separate plates for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
“So I don’t know why this email was sent in the first place,” the student said. Some IIT-ians posted the email on social media, alleging segregation. A student claimed the issue could be part of “a right wing agenda” to push for a vegetarian diet. “For the last several years, separate counters are kept for veg, non-veg and Jain food and nobody ever complained about it,” he said.