News Column

Cannabis Users Busted at Nepal Hindu Festival

March 11, 2013

Police in Nepal on Sunday arrested more than 80 people for smoking cannabis at a festival dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva whose most devout followers consume the drug as an act of reverence.

"We arrested 85 people from the Pashupatinath temple," said Uttam Subedi, a metropolitan police range officer.

"Most of them were smoking cannabis and a couple of them were arrested for pickpocketing and creating public disturbance."

Shiva devotees in Nepal smoke cannabis in a bid to please the deity and invoke his blessings during the annual Shivaratri festival.

Under Nepalese law only holy men, or sadhus, are permitted to smoke cannabis during the festival and dealing in it is illegal.

Every year hundreds of pilgrims make their way to Pashupatinath temple in the capital Kathmandu, which is dedicated to Shiva, which features cannabis-smoking Naga sadhus with their matted dreadlocks and ash-smeared bodies.

Some 4,000 sadhus from Nepal and India participated this year, authorities said.

About 5,500 security personnel were deployed at the World Heritage Site.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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