700k visit Pashupati on Mahashivaratri

February 14, 2018

The Kathmandu Post, February 14, 2018

Feb 14, 2018-Around 700,000 people visited the Pashupatinath temple to observe Mahashivaratri on Tuesday, according to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).

Though the footfall dropped by 300,000 compared to last year, the PADT officials said it did not stop the visitors from celebrating.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun also visited the temple and offered their prayers on the day.

This year, 3,500 sadhus visited the temple from different parts of country and from India to pay their homage to Lord Pashupatinath.

Devotees had stood in lines from Monday afternoon to offer prayers at the main temple. The four gates to the main temple complex were opened at 3:15. The devotees’ queues started from Pinglasthan, Dakshin Murti, Jay Bageshwori and Buwaneshwori.

As a part of security arrangement, 3,000 Nepal Police, 1,500 Armed Police Force, and 50 Central Investigation Bureau personnel were deployed in and around the temple premises. An additional 1,900 scouts and 100 Shiv Sena cadres and the volunteers from Jeevan Bigyan were also deployed.

Various organisations distributed free meal, tea and water to the visitors. Free health clinics were also organised on the temple premises.

52 arrested for smoking cannabis,disorderly conduct

KATHMANDU: Fifty-two people were arrested for smoking cannabis and disorderly conduct during the Mahashivaratri festival in the Pashupati temple area on Tuesday.

SP Joshi said some of the arrestees were freed after warning and several others were put in lock-up pending legal action.

The Pashupati Area Development Trust and the Nepal Police had made a point of curbing marijuana sale and use in and around the Pashupati temple area during Mahashivaratri.

Sadhus visiting the temple for the festival had been warned against selling cannabis to visitors.

Meanwhile, Makwanpur police arrested a person with 400 kg marijuana in Makwanpur on Monday. Man Bahadur Moktan Raksirang Rural Municipality-8 was held with the marijuana from his house. Locals at first tried to obstruct police from arresting Thapa but they finally relented after police threatened to open fire.

Nepal Army Day observed

KATHMANDU: The Nepal Army observed the annual Army Day by organising a special ceremony at the Army Pavilion in Tundikhel on Tuesday. 

President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Chief of the Army Staff General Rajendra Chhetri, government ministers, high ranking officials and foreign dignitaries attended the event.

The NA soldiers performed various military drills, fireworks and cultural shows on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the CPN (Maoist Centre) also observed the day as the 23rd People’s War Day by organising various events in different parts of the country.

While the Maoist party celebrated the People’s War Day, a section of the conflict victims marked the days as a “Black Day”.

People who were victimised by the revolutionaries in the decade-long insurgency staged a sit-in outside the southern gate of Singha Durbar before concluding the demonstration in Maitighar after corner meeting. The protesters also vented their anger at the two transitional justice bodies for delaying investigations into the war-era crimes.

“The Maoist party is mainly responsible for victimising thousands of people like us,” said Shreejana Shrestha, whose husband was killed by then revolutionaries.

Failure on part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons to investigate into single complaint even three years after their formation has only exacerbated victims’ pain, she added.

While the two TJ bodies have not taken any serious step towards lessening their pain, the victims said, the lack of appropriate laws doesn’t stop the TRC and CIEDP from bringing out the truth. The TRC, which has received 62,878 complaints, has set up field offices in all seven provinces to expedite the investigation process, dispatched them 1,000 cases each to complete the investigation in three months.