A controversy broke out at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay after posters for a separate eating space for vegetarian students were put up across in one of the hostels, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

The posters declaring that “vegetarians only are allowed to sit here” had been put up on walls of the canteen of Hostel 12 last week, reported PTI.

Students’ collective Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle alleged in a tweet that some of the students forced others to leave the “vegetarians only” area even as there is no policy in the institution for separate eating spaces.

An official at the IIT-Bombay confirmed to PTI that the posters were found but did not say who had put them up.

In an e-mail, the general secretary of the hostel told all residents of Hostel 10 that while there was a separate counter for distributing “Jain food”, no space had been designated for eating.

“We would like to remind everyone that such behaviour is unacceptable and goes against the values of mutual respect and tolerance that we strive to uphold in our community,” the e-mail read. “No student has the right to remove another student from any area of the mess on the grounds that it is reserved for a particular community.”

The general secretary warned students of punitive action if such incidents are repeated.

Also read: What makes Indian vegetarians different from Westerners who have given up meat?

Anti-discrimination rules in IIT-Bombay

Meanwhile, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has issued a set of guidelines saying that it is inappropriate to ask other students about their entrance examination rank or or any other information that might reveal their caste, reported The Indian Express.

The guidelines come months after Darshan Solanki, a first-year student at the institute, was found dead near his hostel building on February 12. In a note, Solanki had alleged caste discrimination and named one of his batchmates, who was subsequently arrested on charges of abetment of suicide.

The guidelines stated that asking the rank of a student might seem like “an attempt to find the caste and may set the stage for discrimination”.

The guidelines also prohibit students from forwarding or exchanging messages, including jokes that are abusive, hateful, casteist, sexist or “exhibit bigotry e.g. based on religion or sexual orientation can be construed as harassment or bullying”.

Also read: The Indian classroom is a site of routine humiliation for Dalit students