New Delhi: The Hansraj College’s decision to ban non-vegetarian food from the premises has sparked a new debate on the University of Delhi (DU) campus. The ban triggered protests by students, and at least 40 of them were even taken into police custody on Friday, January 20 as they demonstrated outside the college. It appears that the Hansraj College hostel is the only facility within DU that has taken this decision to not serve non-vegetarian meals.
The protesters, mostly from the Students’ Federation of India, claimed that most students of the college were against this ban and saw this as an attempt to establish “cultural hegemony”.
The students claimed this is a new rule introduced by the college, and that they took the protest route after their requests for talks yielded nothing.
Speaking to ABP Live, the college admitted that non-vegetarian food was served on the premises earlier, but said they set new rules last year.
“Since the reopening of college in February last year (after the Covid-induced lockdown was lifted), non-vegetarian food has not been served in the mess. In our college canteen, non-veg food was never served. The college follows the philosophy of the Arya Samaj,” Dr. Arvind, warden of the Hansraj College, told ABP Live.
“We also informed the ban on non-vegetarian food through a notice. Also, it is not mentioned in the prospectus that non-vegetarian food will be served in the mess,” he added.
Abusaad, an alumnus of the college, told ABP Live that non-vegetarian meals were served in the hostel when he studied in the college.
A look at the 2019-20 prospectus, available on the college website, shows that the option of non-vegetarian food was available until that session. While there is no prospectus for 2020-21 available on the site, the option of non-vegetarian food is missing from that for the 2022-23 session.
(2019-20 Hostel Prospectus)
“When the classes resumed after the Covid lockdown was lifted, non-veg food choices that were offered to students before the pandemic were no longer present, even though no official notice was given and extra charges were taken from the hostel students for the non-veg food,” Mayukh Biswas, general secretary of SFI, told ABP Live.
According to him, the issue was raised with Principal Rama Sharma, but she refused to budge, reportedly claiming that over 90 percent of the students in Hansraj are vegetarian.
He asserted that this claim was wrong, saying a poll conducted inside Hansraj College hostel showed that almost 75 percent of the students want non-vegetarian food on the menu.
“The majority of students of Hansraj are against this ban on non-vegetarian food and see this as an attempt to establish cultural hegemony,” he added.
Won’t Withdraw Order: Principal
Hansraj College principal Rama Sharma refused to withdraw the order to discontinue non-veg food in the hostel. As reported by PTI, Sharma claimed that 90% of the college’s students are vegetarian, who had earlier protested over non-vegetarian food being served in the hostel.
“We are not going to withdraw the notice regarding non-veg food. It is an Arya Samaj college. We have our philosophy and that is why we won’t serve non-veg food. We conduct ‘havan’ regularly. We follow our rules. It is written in the hostel prospectus that non-veg food will not be served in the hostel,” Sharma was quoted saying in a PTI report.
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