Nearly two months after a controversy broke out at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay over some areas in a mess being unofficially earmarked for vegetarians, the administration has now allowed a separate space for those not eating meat, The Hindu reported on Wednesday.

The institute’s mess council has declared that six tables at a common canteen for hostels 12, 13, and 14 will kept aside for those eating vegetarian food.

An email sent by the mess council said that the decision was taken to create a “more inclusive environment” for students. “There is no doubt that there are some people who can’t resist the view and smell of non-vegetarian food during their dining, this may create health issue as well,” the email stated.

Among the health concerns cited by students were feelings of “nausea” or “vomiting” while seeing meat or eggs, according to The Hindu. The mess council also warned that “appropriate penalties” would be imposed if the rule was violated.

The email was sent after the wardens and mess councillors of the three hostels held a meeting.

The common canteen has a total of 80-100 tables, out of which six will now be reserved for those eating vegetarian food. Seven to eight persons can sit at one table, according to The Indian Express.

Students’ collective Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle termed the mess council’s policy as regressive. “After weeks of an ambiguous and awkward back and forth on the food segregation policy, the admin has finally revealed where they stand,” it said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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

In July, posters for a separate eating space for vegetarian students had been put up at the IIT-Bombay’s hostel 12. “Vegetarians only are allowed to sit here,” the posters had declared.

The Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle had alleged at the time that some of the students forced others to leave the “vegetarians only” area even as there was no policy in the institution for separate eating spaces.

The general secretary of the hostel mess had then said in an email that no area could be reserved for anyone, or could seek to exclude anyone.

The posters informally designating a separate space for vegetarians were taken down around three weeks ago.