The Odisha government passed an order following a petition filed by a religious body to impose the ban on ‘ganja’ (cannabis).
New Delhi: The Odisha government banned the use of ‘ganja’ (cannabis) in any form across Shiva temples in the state. The decision was informed by the Odia Language, Literature and Culture Department after the state government passed an order following a petition filed by a religious body to impose the ban.
“The restriction will be imposed on the use of ganja in all the Shaivite temples of the state,” an official statement said.
The state’s cultural department urged all District Collectors and Superintendents of Police (SPs) to take necessary steps to stop the use of cannabis on the premises of all Lord Shiva temples across the state. Earlier, Ananta Balia Trust headed by Padma Shri Baba Balia had written to the Odisha Government on April 13 to stop the use of ganga across Shiva temples in the state.
Reacting to the development, Padma Shri Baba Balia hailed the move and said use of ganja is “injurious to health”. “We had written a letter to the Odisha Government requesting a ban on Ganja (Cannabis) at lord Shiva Temples as its use is injurious to health, I thank Odisha Government for taking the step,” Padma Shri Baba Balia was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“There is a tradition to offer Ganja or Bhang to Lord Shiva at many temples, it should not be distributed among devotees for consumption as prasad as its consumption is injurious to health special Youth and Children,” he added.
Padma Shri Baba Balia said he would also request other state governments and the central government to ban the use of such substances in temples. “I would urge the other State Governments and Center government that they should ban the use of these things in the temples, I will start a national campaign for this soon,” he said.