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Comments over distribution of ‘Right wing’ newspaper in train put Railways in a fix

Bengaluru, April 23, 2022- Indian Railways has found itself in a spot over its comments on the distribution of a Right wing newspaper — ‘ The Aryavarth Express’ — in the Bengaluru-Chennai Shatabdi Express on Friday.

The passengers borading from Bengaluru were surprised to find copies of Aryavarth Express in the train which contained controversial articles, prompting the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to issue a warning to the onboard services licensee later.

The Indian Railways authorities were first slammed by Left activists for the distribution of Aryavarth Express copies in the train.

The authorities then assured that the vendor has been advised to avoid such incidents in the future. They also assured that the staff will keep a strict vigil to avoid distribution of such newspapers as inserts.

The clarification from the IRCTC has angered Right wing activists, who questioned the move saying anything related to the interests of Hindus would meet the same fate and whoever spoke in favour of Hindus would be penalised. The IRCTC then deleted its tweets giving clarification.

The issue started with the distribution of Aryavarth Express along with the officially permitted newspaper in the train to the passengers.

The newspaper carried a lead article that read ‘Genocide of Hindus, Sikhs and Budhists under Islamic rule needs to be recognised’. The other news items in the newspaper also spoke about the plight of Hindus.

One of the passengers, Gopika Bashi, a gender justice campaigner, took objection to the distribution of Aryavarth Express in the train.

She slammed the IRCTC on its twitter handle and questioned how a ‘blatantly propagandist’ newspaper be distributed by it.

Soon Bashi was joined by others who questioned the distribution of a Right wing newspaper in the train. The IRCTC, on its part, clarified that it was distributed as an insert along with the approved daily.

The Railway Ministry has clarified that its tweet was only regarding distribution of newspapers, and had nothing to do with the content. (Agency)

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