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NEW DELHI/UJJAIN: Barely hours after a group of seers from Ujjain threatened to stop the Ramayan Express if the waiters in the train continued wearing their saffron uniform, the ticketing and catering arm of the Railways, IRCTC, changed their dress code on Monday in its bid to put the controversy to rest.
The seers had complained that the saffron attire of the waiters was an insult to Hindu religion and its seers. They had opposed the waiters donning saffron attire with a sadhu-like headgear and wearing rudraksha malas (necklaces). “We have changed the dress code and now there is no issue. There was no intention to hurt the sentiment of anyone,” a railway ministry official said.
The country’s first Ramayan circuit train had started off on a 17-day tour from Safdarjung railway station on November 7. This train visits 15 places associated with the life of Lord Ram. It covers more than 7,500 km, taking the pilgrims to Ayodhya, Prayag, Nandigram, Janakpur, Chitrakoot, Sitamarhi, Nasik, Hampi and Rameshwaram.
The railway ministry plans to run more such trains such as Guru Kripa Express for Sikh pilgrims and South India Darshan in the near future. It will float tenders for such services, sources said. Earlier in the day, news agency PTI quoted Ujjain Akhada Parishad’s former general secretary Avdeshpuri saying that they had written to Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw lodging their protest against waiters serving refreshments and food in the Ramayan Express in saffron. He had said the seers would stop the train at Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station if the saffron dress of the waiters was not changed.

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