Controversy Erupts at IIT Bombay Over Food Segregation Issue

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New Delhi, July 30, 2023: In a recent incident at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, a student faced humiliation for consuming non-vegetarian food at the hostel canteen. According to a student studying at IIT Powai, the incident occurred last week at the canteen of hostel 12.

Some students had put up posters proclaiming “Vegetarian only are allowed to sit here” on the canteen walls, and they even went to the extent of forcing non-vegetarian food enthusiasts to vacate the premises.

The incident sparked outrage among certain students who found it to be humiliating and discriminatory. Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), an informal students’ collective from the institute, took to Twitter to condemn the act.

They stated that despite an RTI query revealing the absence of an official food segregation policy, some individuals at the institute have taken it upon themselves to designate certain mess areas as “Vegetarians Only” and discriminate against others.

APPSC strongly opposed this demarcation, which they believe reinforces the idea of superiority among certain groups on campus and perpetuates discrimination against students from marginalized backgrounds. In response, they tore off the offending posters and initiated a campaign on social media to raise awareness about the issue.

Interestingly, an RTI query filed by students three months ago revealed that the institute did not have an official food segregation policy. However, despite this, different seating arrangements based on students’ food choices continue to be practiced at the institute.

In 2018, the IIT-Bombay hostel faced a similar controversy when a circular asked non-vegetarian students to use separate plates. The mess council of the hostel claimed that this demand came from many students who preferred non-vegetarian food.

Efforts to contact the director and officials of IIT Powai for comment on the recent incident have been unsuccessful so far. The incident has brought to light the need for fostering a more inclusive and respectful environment on campus, promoting unity among students and celebrating diversity.

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