‘We have learned from it’: Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw after row over Ramayana Express staff uniform

Updated on Nov 23, 2021 07:41 PM IST

IRCTC has said it will change the saffron uniform of the serving staff on board the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train after seers from Ujjain took strong objection to the dress code. 

Ashwini Vaishnaw made the comments after seers said they will stop the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train. (Sanjeev Verma/HT File Photo)
Ashwini Vaishnaw made the comments after seers said they will stop the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train. (Sanjeev Verma/HT File Photo)
By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

A day after the Indian Railways withdrew the uniform of the staff serving on the Ramayana Special Trains amid objections from a section of seers, railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Tuesday the issue has been a learning experience.

“We have learned from it. When we deal with any point in culture then there are many sensitive points to it. We must consciously adopt in our processes of designing, food, dress and other things,” railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, according to news agency ANI.

“So, we should move forward with this learning,” Ashwini Vaishnaw added.

The catering and tourism arm of the railways ministry, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), said on Monday it will change the saffron uniform of the serving staff on board the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train after seers from Ujjain took strong objection to the dress code, saying it was an "insult" to Hindu religion.

Also read | After outrage from seers, Railways withdraws Ramayan Express’ staff dress code

“It is to inform that the dress of service staff is completely changed in the look of professional attire of service staff,” IRCTC said in a tweet on Monday.

The seers threatened to stop the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train at Delhi's Safdarjung railway station on December 12 if the dress code was not withdrawn.

“We have written a letter two days back to the Union Railway Minister lodging our protest against waiters in saffron serving refreshments and food in the Ramayan Express,” Ujjain Akhada Parishad's former general secretary Avdeshpuri told PTI.

“Donning saffron attire with sadhu-like headgear and wearing 'malas' (necklaces) of 'rudraksha' (sacred seeds) is an insult to Hindu religion and its seers,” he said, adding it was necessary for protecting the Hindu religion.

Also watch | Railways withdrew saffron uniform of Ramayana Express' staff

After IRCTC changed the uniform of the staff on the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train, Avdeshpuri told PTI “it is a victory of (Hindu) religion and sanskriti (culture)" and that it was his duty to raise the issue.

IRCTC launched the special tourist train in line with the government’s initiative "Dekho Apna Desh" to promote domestic tourism on November 7. At a price of  82,950 per person for 2AC and  102,095 for 1AC class, the train will take passengers to 15 places associated with the life of Lord Ram.

Pilgrims will be taken to places such as Ayodhya, Prayagraj, Nandigram, Janakpur, Chitrakoot, Sitamarhi, Nashik, Hampi and Rameshwaram as the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train will cover a distance of more than 7,500km.

After the first Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train started earlier this month, Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted that there was an “overwhelming response” to the first tour of the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special with 100 per cent occupancy. He also announced that the next tour on the Ramayana circuit is on December 12.

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