Row over separate entrances and utensils for veg, non-veg students at IIT Madras mess

The new system is introduced in RR North Indian mess on the second floor and one of the staff there told Express that the instructions were issued by the mess monitoring committee.

Published: 14th December 2018 01:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2018 02:25 PM   |  A+A-

IIT Madras mess

A sign indicating entry/exit points for non-vegetarians and vegetarians in IIT-Madras. (Photo | APSC Facebook page)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a controversial decision, IIT Madras has opened two entrances and set up separate wash basins for students having vegetarian and non-vegetarian food in a mess on the campus.

The move has created an unrest of sorts in the campus with a section of students calling it 'untouchability'. Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), a student body in IIT Madras, has shared the pictures of posters pasted on the walls of the second floor of the Himalaya mess building, where the 'new' system is introduced.

"Upper-caste households in India would usually have two entrances - one for the upper castes and the other one in the back for the 'impure' lower castes. A mess in IIT Madras is now having the same system. This mess has two separate entrances for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Not just that - separate wash basins and separate utensils as well. What started as a demand for 'pure' vegetarian mess has become full-fledged untouchability. IIT Madras is trying to become a world-class institute, but the culture inside is still regressive in many aspects!," APSC facebook post reads.

Separate entry/exit point and hand wash signs put up at Himalaya at Mess of IIT-Madras. (Photo | APSC Facebook page)

Express independently enquired and has confirmed the order by the institute. The Himalaya mess is a three-storied building with a capacity to accommodate six messes. As most of the students have gone home for vacations, four of the messes are under operation. These include two south Indian and two north Indian caterers.

The new system has been introduced in RR North Indian mess on the second floor and one of the staff there told Express that the instructions were issued by the mess monitoring committee. The mess has egg and chicken in its non-vegetarian menu.

READ: IIT Madras trolled on social media for shaming student who used condom

"The demand for pure vegetarian mess has been there since long, but before taking any such decision the students need to be informed. The posters have emerged overnight," said a former student legislator.

Express has accessed a couple of students' mails from the past, where the demand for pure vegetarian mess was put forth. In fact, a student poll was also conducted in 2017, but due to a lot of opposition the plan was temporarily dropped.

When contacted, an IIT professor downplayed the controversy and said this particular mess alone serves Jain food. "Mess monitoring committee must have taken the decision for the comfort of the students. There are several other canteens where there are no such conditions," the professor said.

Express has sent a mail to IIT Madras media cell seeking a response from Students' dean  Sivakumar and is awaiting a reply. 

This story will be updated once Express receives a response.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • a.kumar

    does any body is concentrating on their studies in IIT chennai or all are spending the time in wasting their time in monitoring all these things. i have never eaten even egg in my life my children took egg for six months and when there was fear of bird flu in 2004 they stopped eating that. now tell me why should we sit with person eating non veg food which may result somebody developing allergy or vomitting etc you can not order chicken in udupi hotel but u can eat any type of food in non veg hotels .concentrate in studies avoid wasting time those who need not move outof their native town can have hate for others any body who seeks jobs outside must have tolerance for others other wise no body will have friends or well wishers outside their city.
    2 years ago reply
  • Ruchi jain

    Heartiest congratulations n thanks to the institute for respecting the feelings of ahimsa n purity .
    2 years ago reply
  • Srini

    Of course the veg mess and non veg mess should be separate. Is that even a question? Why should vegetarians sit with people who eat cooked dead bodies of birds and animals??
    2 years ago reply
  • Soman

    I think there are people interested in racking up controversies and disrupt social harmony. Hotels offer pure vegetarian or mixed veg / non veg fare. People go to the kind they prefer. Some vegetarians do not mind eating food in a non vegetarian restaurant. Others who are concerned with cross contamination of food
    2 years ago reply
  • Saurabh

    What's wrong in having pure veg food ... Serve pork innon veg food and see what demand you get
    2 years ago reply
  • Dee

    I have seen vegetarians
    2 years ago reply
  • Sukumar

    This school has been on the news for all wrong reasons. Last time a student suraj was beaten up for eating steak. Your global citizens from this retarded mess will need a contingency plan
    2 years ago reply
  • Vikash Jai

    you cannot be true supporters until you cannot treat animals like you want to be treated yourself.
    2 years ago reply
  • Vipin

    Oh what a hype! Regressional thinking...what nonsense. Pure vegetarians would not like the smell of non veg even on utensils or wash basin and hence this move
    2 years ago reply
  • Joe

    In the land of Periyar
    2 years ago reply
  • Vishwanath

    Are these students there to study or create unrest. What is wrong in having two enterance for veg and non veg .... and I can’t understand. The effects of reservation..........
    2 years ago reply
  • Ravi

    why this types of illogical news got published...whats wrong with if veg and non-veg have there different utensils. anyone have freedom to choose there menu and they can pick where it available. even non-veg people have two choice. why people is comparing with upper caste and lower caste.
    2 years ago reply
  • Venkata Suryakiran Ravula

    Humanity comes first. People who eat vegetrian food generally feel uncomfortable with non-vegeterian food. So the step taken by the mess has to be considered with students comfort but not as stupid controversial caste related issue.
    2 years ago reply
  • Murali

    APSC is known to make trivial things as though the sky is falling. Nothing more to the news.
    2 years ago reply
  • Ashish

    So what's the problem with this? Do you want to force pure vegetarians to eat Non-Veg food? Don't you think it is crossing the limit?
    2 years ago reply
  • Navneet Bhatnagar

    Why only chicken ? We should have pork products as well in this mess. Then let's see how any students complain.
    2 years ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp