IIT-Madras stokes controversy after posters demanding separate exits, wash basins for veg, non-veg students

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) has stoked a controversy on Friday, in which the institute has been accused of caste discrimination.

According to The News Minute, posters earmarking separate entry and exit points and wash basins for vegetarian and non-vegetarian students have been allegedly pasted at a mess of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, kicking up a row with a section of students alleging discrimination.

Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), an independent student body in IIT Madras, has shared the pictures of the posters pasted on the walls of the second floor of Himalaya mess, where the ‘new’ system was introduced. According to reports, the Himalaya mess is three-storied building and has six halls that serve food. Currently, only four of them are functioning and there are reportedly two vegetarian and two non-vegetarian caterers.  One of the pictures of the poster circulated on social media read “Hand Wash Vegetarian Students” while another said “Winter vacation mess – food arrangements. Entry/exit non-vegetarian food students.”

“Upper-caste households in India would usually have two entrances – one for the upper castes and the other one in the back, for the ‘impure’ lower castes. A mess in IIT Madras now has the same system. This mess has two separate entrances for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Not just that – separate wash basins and separate utensils as well. What started as a demand for a ‘pure’ vegetarian mess, has become full-fledged untouchability. IIT Madras is trying to become a world-class institute, but the culture inside is still regressive in many aspects!” reads the APSC facebook post.

But after the controversy, the IIT Madras’s mess monitoring committee on Friday removed posters earmarking separate entry points and wash basins for vegetarian and non-vegetarian students inside a mess on the campus, reported DNA. According to some students, there has been demand from a section of students for a separate vegetarian mess ever since the ‘beef festival’ incident in May last year.

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