80 arrested for smoking cannabis

2013-03-10 20:00
(AFP)

(AFP)

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Kathmandu - 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 use 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 pick-pocketing and creating a 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.

Authorities said about 4 000 sadhus from Nepal and India participated this year.

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

Read more on:    nepal  |  religion

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