Clampdown on cannabis sale at religious festival
Today, the Hindu festival of Maha Shivratri begins, celebrating the marriage of Lord Shiva to the Goddess Parvati. This great night of Shiva occurs on the night before the new moon in the month of Maagha. Every year thousands of pilgrims travel to the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, Nepal including Sadus, or holy men, who live like hermits in caves. As part of their celebration the Sadus smoke cannabis. A loophole in the law allows this and at one time the government used to provide marijuana for the festival. However, this year in response to complaints from locals, the authorities, while still permitting the Sadus to smoke, are not permitting any sale of the drug. It seems like some unscrupulous people were posing as holy men to deal in drugs. So far plain-clothes officers have arrested 18 people.