The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Monday rejected allegations that vegetarian food was being cooked in oil used to prepare non-vegetarian dishes. The denial came after a section of vegetarian students alleged that they were served food cooked in oil that had been used to make non-vegetarian dishes.
Students of Sir Syed Hall (North), in a letter to the vice-chancellor, alleged that the cooks use the same oil to fry chicken and pooris. They demanded strict action against the cooks and suggested a separate kitchen for cooking vegetarian food.
The matter came to light on November 26 when a student received a call from the hostel’s dining hall about the bad quality of cooking oil being used for frying pooris. Following the alert, a group of students reached the kitchen and found that the oil was blackish in colour and had been used to fry chicken a day earlier.
On Sunday, Bhartiya Yuva Morcha’s city unit chief Nikhil Maheshwari issued a statement, alleging that the incident was a “deliberate ploy” to hurt the sentiments of Hindus. Even though there were reports that a complaint was filed at the Civil Lines Police Station, the Inspector told indianexpress.com that no such grievance was lodged.
AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai said an inquiry conducted by the provost revealed that the allegation was “completely baseless”. He said respect for religious sentiments of all students was the hallmark of the university’s secular traditions from the time of its foundation.
Kidwai said four members of the cooking staff had confirmed to the university that “fresh cooking oil released by the kitchen stock was used for cooking the entire vegetarian meal”.
The same was seconded by a student of Sir Syed Hall (North) block. Refuting reports that vegetarian food was being cooked in oil used to prepare non-vegetarian dishes, he said after a group of students lodged a complaint with the cook, the oil was immediately changed.
Meanwhile, former AMU union president Mashkoor Usmani said the whole controversy was the handiwork of Bhartiya Yuva Morcha and denied any such incident taking place. “The youth wing of BJP has been targeting AMU for the past couple of months,” he told indianexpress.com.