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IIT Bombay Mess Row: Fine On Students Protesting Against Tables Reserved For Vegetarian Food

Nishtha Anushree

Oct 03, 2023, 10:26 AM | Updated 10:26 AM IST

IIT Bombay (File photo)
IIT Bombay (File photo)

The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has imposed a Rs 10,000 fine on students who protested against the establishment of a 'veg-only' space by one of the mess councils.

The decision to levy the fine was made during an online meeting of the mess council of hostels 12, 13, and 14 on 1 October. The council stated that the protest was a deliberate attempt to disrupt peace and harmony in the mess, contrary to the advice given by the Associate Dean SA (Students' Affairs).

A day before the meeting, an email had been sent to all residents of hostels 12, 13, and 14, informing them of the designated veg-only space in their combined mess. This announcement, designating six tables for vegetarian food only, led to controversy.

While the mess council claimed the segregation was to "create a more inclusive and peaceful dining experience for all," some students considered it unnecessary and counter to an inclusive approach.

Protests ensued during dinner the next day, with students engaging in what they termed civil disobedience by consuming non-vegetarian food at one of the six designated veg-only tables, causing unrest in the mess.

As per the meeting minutes shared by the Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), a student collective, on social media, a fine has been imposed on one protesting student.

The decision was unanimous, citing the student's behavior as contrary to the inclusive and peaceful atmosphere in Hostel 12, 13, and 14 mess. The fine amount will be deducted from the student's Semester Mess Advance.

The meeting minutes also mentioned the involvement of at least two other individuals whose identities are yet to be determined. The mess council plans to seek the assistance of student representatives from the hostel councils to identify these individuals, and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against them.

The APPSC, which initially opposed the mess council's announcement and supported the student protest, condemned the administration's decision as tyrannical and called for an immediate reversal of the regressive policy. The institute administration has not responded to queries.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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