After outrage from seers, Indian Railways withdraws Ramayan Express’ staff dress code

Updated on Nov 23, 2021 03:55 AM IST

They threatened to stop the Ramayan Express at Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station if the staff continued to wear their saffron uniform while serving on the train, saying that it was an insult to the Hindu religion.

Serving staff on board the Ramayan Express, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Railways on Monday changed the uniforms of its serving staff on board the Ramayan Express after seers from Ujjain objected to the saffron attire of waiters on board the train. (PTI Photo)
Serving staff on board the Ramayan Express, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Railways on Monday changed the uniforms of its serving staff on board the Ramayan Express after seers from Ujjain objected to the saffron attire of waiters on board the train. (PTI Photo)
By | Written by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

After seers from Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain demanded that the dress code of the staff aboard the Ramayan Express must be changed, the Indian Railways on Monday withdrew their uniform, news agency PTI reported.

They threatened to stop the Ramayan Express at Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station if the staff continued to wear their saffron uniform while serving on the train, saying that it was an insult to the Hindu religion.

“It is to inform that the dress of service staff is completely changed in the look of professional attire of service staff. Inconvenience caused is regretted,” the Indian Railways said in a statement, according to PTI.

The Indian Railways said that the staff will now wear normal shirts and trousers and traditional headgear. They will, however, continue, to wear saffron masks and gloves. The staff on board the Ramayan Express used to wear saffron unfirm with rudraksha beads and traditional headgear to which the seers of Ujjain objected.

Ujjain Akhada Parishad's former general secretary Avdeshpuri told PTI that the seers wrote to the railway minister earlier this week expressing their disapproval over the staff’s uniform.

“We wrote a letter to the railway minister two days ago, lodging our protest against waiters serving refreshments and food in the Ramayan Express in saffron. Donning a saffron attire with a sadhu-like headgear and wearing malas (necklaces) of rudraksha is an insult to the Hindu religion and its seers,” Avdeshpuri was quoted as saying by the news agency.

He said that the demand for the change in attire was necessary for protecting the Hindu religion. “We will sit on the railway tracks. This is necessary for protecting the Hindu religion,” Avdeshpuri said.

The Ramayan Express, which kicked off its first trip earlier this month, takes people to 15 places associated with the life of Lord Ram. It covers a distance of more than 7,500km and takes pilgrims to Ayodhya, Prayag, Nandigram, Janakpur, Chitrakoot, Sitamarhi, Nasik, Hampi and Rameshwaram.

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