The Indian Railways on Monday changed the uniform of the serving staff on a train meant to take pilgrims to places associated with Hindu deity Ram after threats from seers.
Seers from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh protested against the saffron outfits that the serving staff wore earlier. They had threatened to stop the Ramayan Express in Delhi if the uniform of the staff was not changed, PTI reported.
“Donning saffron attire with sadhu-like headgear and wearing malas [strings of beads] is an insult to Hindu religion and its seers,” Avdeshpuri, the former general secretary of the Ujjain Akhada Parishad, told the news agency.
Avdeshpuri added that seers had complained to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw about the dress.
On Monday, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, the ticketing and catering section of the Railways, tweeted photos of staff members dressed differently – in off-white shirts and black pants.
“It is to inform that the dress of service staff is completely changed in the look of professional attire of service staff,” it said. “Inconvenience caused is regretted.”
An unidentified Railway board official told The Indian Express that the department had decided not to fuel the controversy and shift to an acceptable dress code.
Avdeshpuri described the change in dress code as a victory for Hindu religion and culture, PTI reported. He added that it was his duty to speak about the matter.