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Wikimedia commons A sadhu smokes a chillum at the Pashupatinath Temple during Shivaratri
# Cannabis
Nepal holy men warned against selling cannabis at festival
Sadhus arrested by undercover cops for selling drug in temple.

POLICE IN NEPAL have warned sadhus, or holy men, that they will be arrested if found selling drugs at a festival in the capital city of Kathmandu.

The Shivaratri festival, which takes place every year in honour of the Hindu god Shiva, sees pilgrims from all over Nepal and northern India descend upon the temple of Pashupatinath.

Yet while the sadhus are permitted to smoke cannabis in honour of the god, authorities have become worried that the drug is being sold to other festival-goers on the temple premises, according to the BBC.

Ahead of this year’s festival, the Pashupati Areas Development Trust (PADT) said it had banned the buying and selling of cannabis at the festival.

“Over the past few years, the use of drugs has become more widespread and it’s also become commercial,”  PADT Member Secretary Sushil Nahata told the BBC, “it has spoilt the essence of the festival.”

Plain clothes police have been mingling with the holy men for the past week in an effort to identify those selling drugs. So far around 20 sadhus have been arrested and moved to an area outside the city, according to officials.