The Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has urged the Congress state government to declare a public holiday on Monday, January 22, so that people can watch the consecration of the idol of Lord Ram at the Ram temple in Ayodhya. State BJP President BY Vijayendra said, “January 22 is an unforgettable day in the country's history,” and urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to declare it a public holiday.
Vijayendra added that a holiday would allow crores of devotees to witness the “landmark occasion with their family and perform poojas”. He said, “The Union government has announced a half day holiday and various other states have also declared a holiday. The aim behind it is that as everyone can’t participate in the event in Ayodhya, devotees can at least watch it from home.”
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Kota Srinivas Poojary wrote to the Chief Minister with a similar demand. According to reports, a pro-Kannada outfit also protested in front of the CM’s residence on January 20 seeking a public holiday on January 22. The Union government has announced that all Union government offices will be closed for half the day on January 22 for the inauguration of Ram temple in Ayodhya. The inauguration ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12.20 pm on January 22 and is expected to end by 1 pm.
Responding to this, CM Siddaramaiah said that no decision has been taken on declaring a government holiday on January 22. “I have not yet seen a request letter,” he said. He had earlier said that he would visit the temple in Ayodhya after the consecration ceremony, but not on January 22.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Endowment (Muzrai) Minister Ramalinga Reddy has ordered all Muzrai temples across the state to perform Maha Mangalarati (special poojas) on January 22 to honour the idol installation ceremony in Ayodhya.
The Ram temple has been built on the site of the Babri Masjid that was destroyed 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.