The Rajasthan government has announced a 'dry day' in the state on January 22 in view of the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The order in this regard was issued by the state Excise Department on Sunday, January 14. Over 7,000 liquor shops and bars in the state shall remain closed on the day, officials said. Besides this, all non-veg shops in Jaipur will also remain closed on the day.
"Due to the consecration ceremony of Lord Shri Ram in the temple being built at Shri Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, January 22, 2024, is declared as a dry day in the entire state. Liquor shops will remain closed throughout the day on this day. The closing time of liquor shops in Rajasthan is fixed at 8 p.m. In such a situation, liquor shops will be closed at 8 pm on January 21, and will open in the morning on January 23," the order stated.
Earlier, while there were calls to shut liquor shops within the Jaipur Municipal Corporation's boundaries, Mayor Munesh Gujjar had rejected the proposal on technical grounds.
Before Rajasthan, three other BJP-ruled states had announced that they will observe a ‘dry day’ on January 22, the day of the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, ‘in honour of Lord Rama's return to his birthplace’. Chhattisgarh was the first state to announce a ban on the sale of alcohol on January 22, with Chief Minister Vishnu Dev Sai announcing this decision last week. Assam followed suit, with Tourism Minister Jayant Malla Barau making the announcement. Uttar Pradesh, being the epicentre of the event, will also enforce a statewide alcohol prohibition on January 22.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest during the temple inauguration, during which idols will be placed in the temple's sanctum sanctorum. The inauguration of the temple comes after several events and incidents that significantly impacted the country’s social fabric and political history.
Babri Masjid, built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur in 1528, was demolished by kar sevaks belonging to Hindu majoritarian outfits on December 6, 1992. The demolition, which happened as a result of a concerted Ram Janmabhoomi movement, resulted in communal riots over months, which led to over 2,000 deaths. The Babri Masjid has been a contested site since 1885 as religious leaders and Hindutva outfits considered it Ram Janambhoomi or the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
A legal fight ensued in 1950 when Gopal Visharad Sharma approached Faizabad district court for the right to worship idols of Ram Lalla, which were placed there in 1949. On September 30, 2010, the High Court, in a 2:1 majority, ruled a three-way division of the disputed area between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
Nine years later, in 2019, the Supreme Court granted the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land to deity Ram Lalla and directed the Uttar Pradesh government to allot five acres of land to Muslims for building a mosque. Though the Supreme Court referred to the mosque's demolition as "an egregious violation of the rule of law," the verdict was criticised for accepting the logic of "faith over fact" and granting legal possession of land to those responsible for the demolition.
With IANS inputs.