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Authorities lock Bengaluru railway station porters’ restroom after right-wing group’s complaint

Several porters working at the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station told the Indian Express they were disappointed with the issue and that their only concern was earning a livelihood.

Written by Kiran Parashar | Bengaluru |
Updated: February 2, 2022 4:23:54 pm
The porters’ restroom at the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station. (Express photo by Jitendra)

Authorities have deployed security and locked a restroom meant for porters at the Bengaluru railway station after a right-wing group alleged it was being used to offer prayers by Muslim porters.

A day after a Twitter handle claimed the porters’ restroom at the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station was converted into a room for Muslims to perform namaz, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), a radical right-wing group, barged inside the restroom and demanded permission to conduct prayers.

The HJS called the use of the restroom for namaz by porters a “threat to national security” and submitted a memorandum to the divisional railway manager alleging that the restroom was converted into an unauthorised place for prayer.

The South Western Railways (SWR) repainted the walls of the room on Tuesday and deployed personnel of the Railway Police Force (RPF) after locking it.

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“The restroom is the porter’s place and even today they are the ones who take care of it. We have never interfered in their restroom and they have never complained about their colleagues performing prayers. The issue will be solved in consultation,” said an SWR official.

The HJS called the use of the restroom for namaz by porters a “threat to national security” and submitted a memorandum to the divisional railway manager alleging that the restroom was converted into an unauthorised place for prayer. (Express Photo by Jitendra)

Several porters working at the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station told the Indian Express they were disappointed with the issue and that their only concern was earning a livelihood.

“We are about 280 porters from all faiths and our religion has never been an issue. There is a temple on platform 8 and there is a church in the railway colony and half of the restroom was used to perform namaz. The other half is used to rest by all. Neither Muslims nor Hindus have any problem with it. It has been prevailing for the last 40-50 years and it was never an issue. We do not know why they brought religion here,” said a porter, who has been working for 23 years.

Another porter said, “A few years ago, the Railways wanted to demolish the temple which is on platform 8 to construct an elevator and when we opposed it, the Muslim porters also stood with us. We feel we betrayed our Muslim brothers. We celebrate all festivals together and all we care about is earning our livelihood. We have a system in place where we stand in a queue the whole day hoping to get a customer. That’s where it starts and ends.”

Another porter said, “I do not mind praying at other places but all we request is to allow us to earn our livelihood. We earn about Rs 100 to 500 a day and there are days we go without money. Our only concern is earning for our families.”

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