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Registered: 07/26/04
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Three-day pot smoking festival for naked saint
    #3989413 - 03/30/05 10:53 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Dead saint attracts naked devotees!
March 30, 2005

Clad only in loincloths, hundreds of devotees of a religious figure known as the "naked saint" gathered in central Bangladesh on Wednesday before the start of a three-day festival of folk songs and cannabis smoking.

Chanting "Dohai Langta Solaiman" (Help! Naked Solaiman), the followers will commemorate the death more than 60 years ago of Solaiman, who shunned clothes during his lifetime and is revered in Bangladesh as a Muslim saint of the Sufi tradition.

The gathering, due to start on Thursday, is expected to attract hundreds of naked devotees and up to half a million curious onlookers.

"The disciples will ... pass the days in a trance-like state," said Abdus Sattar, a local resident.

Cannabis use is illegal in Bangladesh although law enforcers traditionally turn a blind eye during the festival.

"Police usually maintain a safe distance from the cannabis revellers as long as their rompings don't spill over and cause any disturbance," a police official, requesting anonymity, said.

Special transport services were operating on Wednesday to ferry festival goers to the venue at Matlab, 51 kilometres (32 miles) south of the capital.

The festival has been attracting thousands of visitors each year since it started in the 1950s.

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