A DAY after an email sent by the hostel council of a hostel at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, “requesting” non-vegetarians to use separate dishes caused a storm on social media, the council has sent a fresh mail saying no such “imposition” will be made. While it is a common practice in the IIT-B hostels to serve a common meal in a plate or tray, and any extra items including non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes in an extra bowl, the mess team of Hostel 11 sent an email to residents last week urging non-vegetarians to eat in plates “meant specifically for non-veg dishes”. The email faced a backlash from residents on social media with students calling it “purity-pollution concern”.
However, on Tuesday, the general secretary of Hostel 11, Ritika Verma, clarified in an email: “This thing has been practised since a long time, that mess people are serving non-veg in different plates as they are not part of the main menu. We concern religious belief but as council members nothing of such kind can be forced upon anyone (sic).”
Verma told The Indian Express that the earlier mail requesting non-vegetarians to stick to “plates meant for non-vegetarian dishes” was sent after a few vegetarian residents had complained that they were uncomfortable eating from the same plates. “Across the IIT, in all hostels, the same practice is followed where non-vegetarian food is served in separate bowls. We had requested residents to follow the practice. There was no imposition on anyone,” said Verma. In the email sent Tuesday, the hostel council said residents were free to eat in whichever plates they liked. “We assure you that complaints of such kind will be handled in a more mature way,” read the email.
Soumyo Mukherjee, dean, students’ affair, said all “extra items” for which students had to pay over and above the mess charges —both vegetarian and non-vegetarian — were served in separate bowls. “It helps keep a tab on how many students paid for extra items. All hostels follow this practice. The institute has not imposed any separate plates for non-vegetarians,” said Mukherjee. Students from other hostels said non-vegetarian food had always been served in a separate bowl and there had never been any outrage over the matter.