Ujjain: The 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 the waiters.
The seers said it was an insult to the Hindu religion and threatened to stop the train in Delhi on December 12 if the dress code was not withdrawn.
”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.
The uniforms have been changed to normal shirts and trousers and traditional headgear. The waiters will, however, wear saffron masks and gloves.
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”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,” Ujjain Akhada Parishad’s former general secretary Avdeshpuri told PTI.
He said seers would stop the train at Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station if the saffron dress code of the waiters was not changed.
”We will sit on the railway tracks. This is necessary for protecting the Hindu religion,” he added.
Ujjain city in Madhya Pradesh, where the Mahakaleshwar Shiva temple is located, hosts the Simhastha Kumbh Mela every 12 years.
The first Ramayan circuit train chugged off on a 17-day journey from the Safdarjung railway station on November 7. It will visit 15 places associated with the life of Lord Ram. Covering a distance of more than 7,500 km, the train will take pilgrims to places such as Ayodhya, Prayag, Nandigram, Janakpur, Chitrakoot, Sitamarhi, Nasik, Hampi and Rameshwaram.
The Ramayan Express train is equipped with first-class restaurants, a library and shower cubicles.