The government has asked the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to examine demand for a separate canteen for vegetarian students on their campuses.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry recently asked the premier technical and management institutes to look into the matter after a group of people, including some associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), from Madhya Pradesh wrote a letter to Union Minister Smriti Irani, seeking her intervention.
In their letter to the HRD Ministry, they demanded that a separate canteen for vegetarian students should be set up at all the IITs and IIMs.
“Some students at these institutes are consuming non-vegetarian food and adopting western culture. Many vegetarian students follow them and bring sorrow to their parents. Non-vegetarian food leaves an adverse impact on the person consuming it. It leads to development of ‘Tamas’ (dark and unrighteous) nature,” they contended in the letter.
The ministry, which received the letter on September 9, forwarded the same to all the IITs and IIMs for “necessary” action later.
On October 15, the ministry wrote a letter to IITs, requesting the heads of the institutes to apprise it with the action taken by them on the demand made by a group of people from Madhya Pradesh.
“We have demanded a separate canteen for vegetarian students at these institutes so that good students are not spoiled by non-vegetarian food. If your eating habit is pure, you will have a pure nature. If you eat Tamasic food, your nature and behaviour will also become Tamasic,” Satyendra Kumar Jain, one of the signatories in the letter to the HRD Minister, told Deccan Herald. Jain, a resident of Katni district of Madhya Pradesh, said he was a businessman and a member of the RSS.
The IITs and IIMs have a combined canteen for their students, where both non-vegetarian and vegetarian food is prepared.
“We never had any problem in our institute so far. Those who are vegetarian, eat vegetarian food. Those who are non-vegetarian, eat non-vegetarian food,” an IIT-Kharagpur student said.