Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 16

The bandh called by the Maoists on the eve of Shivaratri festival is taking its toll on thousands of pilgrims visiting the holiest Hindu Shrines in Nepal, the Pashupatinath temple.

Around 200,000 pilgrims from various districts in the country and India are going to come to Kathmandu to pay homage to Lord Pashupatinath tomorrow by celebrating Shivaratri.

As the Maoists have called a bandh on this particular day, pilgrims are sure to face problems regarding transportation and lodging facilities around the temple premises.

The Pashupati Area Development Trust today urged the bandh callers to withdraw the same and take into consideration the religious sentiments of the poeple.

"The bandh must be withdrawn as it would affect the sentiments of the religious-minded people," it said.

Chairman of the Vedic Academy Nepal, Baladev Juju, said the bandh, though would not be a great problem with the government "it would surely cause grave problems for the pilgrims who have nothing to do with power and politics.

According to him, Shivaratri comes once a year and people visit the place from different parts of the country and even India.

"It is the duty of each and every Nepali to respect the visitors," he said.

Juju further said that anybody is free to call protest programmes. However, when calling the same they should consider the religious sentiments too.

"I personally feel that the government is to lose nothing with the bandh. The only ones to suffer are the common people," he said.