In a reply to Right to Information (RTI) plea by an activist, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)- Bombay has denied food segregation policy on its campus. According to the various reports, a RTI activist had asked five questions to the administration of IIT Bombay on having separate dining tables for vegetarian students.
The questions asked in the RTI application are:
1. "How many hostels in IIT Bombay have Jain food spaces where non-vegetarian students are not allowed to take egg or meat products? Provide a list of hostels that have such separate dinning spaces."
2. "How many hostels in IIT Bombay have separate dinning arrangement for vegetarians where non- vegetarian students are not allowed to take egg or meat products? Provide a list of hostels that have such separate dinning spaces."
3. "What re the penalties and punishments imposed on the non-vegetarian students who bring non- vegetarian food into the vegetarian and Jain food sections on the messes?"
4. "Provide the minutes of the meetings which decided that there should be a separate eating space for vegetarian/Jain students where non-vegetarian students are not allowed to bring non-vegetarian food."
5. "How much money has been collected as fines for violating the above-mentioned rule in each of the hostels?"
The answer to these questions were:
1. "There is no separate space for Jain food."
2. "There is no separate space for vegetarian in all IIT Bombay Hostels."
3. "No penalties and punishments were imposed in IIT Bombay Hostels.
4. "No such minutes of meeting are available."
5. "No such money has been collected as fine."
Students' circle says the Institute is lying
Sharing the images of the application, the Ambedkar, Periyar, Phule study circle which responds to issues impacting students in IIT-B on X writes, "Lies continue to pour from the @iitbombay administration. In the RTI response to the question of food segregation, IIT admin is openly lying that there is no segregation in hostel messes, and no fines were imposed. This after they imposed a hefty fine of Rs 10000 on a student."
The Post further says, "This blatant lying comes after the Dean of Students Affairs sent a mail on October 5th to students detailing the decision of food segregation and fines, whose decision was taken by the hostel council under him. Impose fines, then lie about it, like they lied of spilling food."
Separate table for Veg Only Students at Hostel 12, 13 and 14
Earlier FPJ reported on September 29th that Students of Hostel 12, 13 and 14 have received an email from the mess council regarding the update on space for Vegetarians.
The mail stated that six tables have been fixed for the vegetarian student, and according to them the goal of this move is to ensure a comfortable and pleasant dining experience for all.
An image of the notice is being circulated on social media sites which states that mess council of Hostel 12, 13, and 14 on October 1st held an meeting with the Wardens and Associate Wardens of the respective hostels to discuss the complaints about the unruly behavior and flouting of mess rules by a few students during dinner on September 28th.
Fine of Rs. 10000
As per the circular floating on social media, the members attended it were; Prof. Manas Behera (Warden H-12), Prof. Asish Kumar Sarangi (Associate Warden, H-12), Prof. Achintya Kumar Dutta (Warden, H-13), Prof. Pradeep Dixit (Associate Warden, H-13), Ankit Pandey (Mess Co. H13) ,Deependra Sharma (Mess Co. H14) and Ravi Jangid (Mess Sec. H13).
The notice states, "The mess council reviewed the evidence available and determined that a resident of Hostel-12, deliberately instigated the incident during dinner on 28/09/23. This act was a premeditated attempt to disrupt the peace and harmony within the mess, in defiance of the advice provided by the associate dean SA, as evidenced in shared email communication. At least two other individuals were involved, whose identities are yet to be ascertained."
It further reads, "It was unanimously agreed that behavior was contrary to the inclusive and peaceful atmosphere at Hostel 12-13-14 mess. The mess council resolved to impose a fine of Rs. 10,000.00/- (Rupees Ten thousand only) on the student."
When did the issue start?
The issue on food discrimination at the IIT Bombay hostels was first raised in July after “vegetarians only” posters were put up on the walls of a canteen in one of the hostels.