IRCTC has now changed the uniform of its staff on the Ramayana Yatra Express to yellow shirts and black pants | Twitter | @IRCTCofficial
IRCTC has now changed the uniform of its staff on the Ramayana Yatra Express to yellow shirts and black pants | Twitter | @IRCTCofficial
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New Delhi: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been forced to undo its decision to clothe staff on the newly-launched Ramayana Yatra Express train in a saffron kurta and red dhoti, and rudraksha malas. 

The climbdown came after Hindu seers claimed the attire was “disrespectful to Hindu saints”. The IRCTC has now changed the uniform of its staff on the train to yellow shirts and black pants, along with Rajasthani headgear.

The controversy erupted after pictures and videos of support staff serving food on the Ramayana Express — launched earlier this month to take pilgrims through various locations of significance in the life of Hindu deity Ram — while wearing saffron kurtas and rudraksh malas went viral.   

Ujjain Akhada Parishad’s former general secretary Avdeshpuri reportedly wrote to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, urging him to change the attire of service staff.

“We have written a letter two days back to the Union Railway Minister lodging our protest against waiters serving refreshments and food in the Ramayana Express in saffron,” news agency PTI quoted Avdeshpuri as having said. “Donning saffron attire with a sadhu-like headgear and wearing malas (necklaces) of rudraksha is an insult to the Hindu religion and its seers.”

The Hindu body had announced that it would stop the train in Delhi on 12 December if the attire is not changed.

He also posted a video on his Facebook page, where he warned that he will sit on the railways tracks along with thousands of other Hindus to stop the train.

‘Inconvenience caused regretted’

Following the row, the IRCTC posted pictures of the support staff in the new attire Monday.

“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 staff will now wear normal shirts and trousers and traditional headgear,” it tweeted.

The IRCTC started the Ramayana Yatra Express on 7 November. It aims to cover Ayodhya, Sitamarhi, Janakpur, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Chitrakoot, Nashik, Hampi, Rameswaram, and Kanchipuram — prominent places associated with the life of Lord Rama.

THE IRCTC had launched this special train in line with the Modi government’s “Dekho Apna Desh (explore your own country) initiative to promote domestic tourism.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: Indian Railways net-zero emissions aim could help meet 5% of Paris Agreement goals, report says


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