New Delhi- In the wake of a controversy over allegations of caste discrimination at IIT Bombay’s campus mess, IIT-Hyderabad finds itself embroiled in a similar situation. The institute has faced criticism from non-vegetarian students following the introduction of a “vegetarians-only” space in their new canteen, sparking a heated debate.
As per reports from The News Minute,IIT-Hyderabad students were sent a survey email intended for hostel residents. The purpose of the survey was to assess students’ interest in having a dining hall exclusively dedicated to vegetarian cuisine.
The survey included a link to a form, indicating that it was initiated at the request of the IIT-H director and certain students. The survey concluded on the following day, and by July 27, another email was sent to students who had chosen the ‘pure vegetarian’ option, granting them a one-day window to complete their registration.
In August, students noticed the establishment of a designated vegetarian area within the new mess dining hall, as reported by The News Minute. It’s important to note that this development could not be independently verified by this newspaper.
IIT-Hyderabad’s campus accommodates two canteens: the old canteen and a newer one. “The old canteen does not have any such segregation. The vegetarian-only section is in the new canteen, where even faculty and other staff members come to eat now. It may also have something to do with the faculty members. They have set up a separate section entirely with utensils for vegetarians. The result of that survey was not made public,” explained an IIT-Hyderabad student who chose to remain anonymous.
An unnamed faculty member from the institution suggested that the introduction of the vegetarian section might be influenced by the presence of faculty members who dine at the same canteen. This teacher noted that a significant portion of the faculty at the institute “belongs to upper-caste groups.”
Following the establishment of a vegetarian-only section, the IIT-Hyderabad administration is currently deliberating the possibility of establishing a dedicated vegetarian dining hall in the upcoming semester. On September 12, they initiated another survey to gather feedback before proceeding with the selection of catering services for the “potential operation of a vegetarian mess in one of the dining halls.”