American evangelist and faith-healer Benny Hinn has cancelled his visit to Bangalore amidst protests by Hindu groups, who were all against Hinn holding his mission in the city, alleging that the evangelist’s “hidden agenda” was to convert people to Christianity.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Panth told news agency PTI that though organisers had earlier said he would be coming; the police had recently received a letter with names of pastors attending the programme, which did not mention Hinn’s name.
Hinn was to take part in a religious programme organised by a church from January 15 to 19 at Jakkur Airfield in Bangalore.
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Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia and BJP were also opposed to his visit.
Stating hat they do not want gullible people to be lured by him former Minister, BJP’s Suresh Kumar had questioned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s “silence” over Hinn’s visit, especially when he had, in his capacity as the Deputy Chief Minister of the Congress-JDS government, opposed the self-proclaimed healer in 2005 when a huge crowd had gathered to witness Hinn’s Miracle Crusade in the same city.
The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti office-bearers had recently submitted a memorandum to City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar contending that the convention is illegal as Hinn was arriving on a tourist visa.
The Karnataka High Court had on January 10 directed the police to take precautionary measures for maintaining peace in the city during Hinn’s visit.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna, had issued directions disposing of a petition by right wing group Sri Rama Sene’s city unit questioning police alleged inaction on its representation to restrain Hinn from participating in the religious event as a similar congregation in 2005 had “disturbed peace” in the city.
According to The Hindu, a group of intellectuals and like-minded groups had also protested against Hinn’s visit, calling him a ‘fraudster’ who was coming to India with the aim of spreading blind faith. They had also urged the Karnataka government to pass the Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Act without delay.