The Union government, on Thursday, January 18, announced that all the Union government offices will be closed for half-day on January 22 for the inauguration of Ram temple in Ayodhya. The Ram temple inauguration ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12.20 pm on January 22 and is expected to end by 1 pm.
An office memorandum from the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions stated that half-day would be a holiday for all Union government offices, union institutions and union industrial establishments. “The Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha at Ayodhya will be celebrated on 22nd January, 2024 across India. To enable employees to participate in the celebrations, it has been decided that all Central Government Offices, Central Institutions and Central Industrial Establishments throughout India will be closed for half day till 14.30 hours on 22nd January, 2024. All Ministries/Departments of Government of India may bring the above decision to the notice of all concerned,” it read.
Earlier, the Goa government declared a holiday for government servants and schools on January 22. The Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh will celebrate the temple inauguration as a 'national festival' and a holiday has been declared on January 22 in all educational institutions in the state. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that there will be no sale of liquor in the state on the day of ‘Pran Pratishtha’. According to reports, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have also announced a public holiday and Haryana has declared holiday for its schools on January 22.
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 several 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.