The central government announced a half-day for all central government offices, institutions and industrial establishments across India on the Ayodhya temple consecration day scheduled on January 22. Several state governments have also declared a holiday or half-day on the occasion of the inauguration.
A press statement released on Thursday by the Department of Personnel and Training read, “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 (2:30 pm) on 22nd January, 2024,”. Further directing all Ministries and/or Departments of the Government of India to bring this announcement to the notice of those concerned.
Apart from the central government, some states have also announced half-day closing till 2:30 P.M on Monday — Tripura, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam — while other states have declared closure throughout the day for educational or/and governmental institutions — Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Haryana. Additionally, the BJP has appealed with the respective Chief Ministers, for a statewide holiday in Kerala, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra.
In response to the announcement, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at Centre, calling this a move of ‘majority appeasement’. Taking to Twitter, Owaisi pointed “Eid Milad un Nabi holiday was canceled by the BJP state government. A constitutional authority did away with a 30-minute break on Fridays for namaz,”.
Moreover, former Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Yashovardhan Azad said, “People are already happy about the ceremony. A half-day leave will not achieve any purpose; officials may extend it to full day. Since January 22 is a Monday, they may avail leave to make it an extended weekend. This will lead to the loss of a day’s work”.
Meanwhile, preparations for the inauguration of the Ayodhya temple in Uttar Pradesh are underway, across the nation. The ceremony is set to be led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under the guidance of a team of priests led by Lakshmikant Dixit, amidst the presence of other politicians, film personalities, and leading industrialists, artists, the families of ‘karsevaks’ who took part in the Ayodhya movement, and others.