The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Bajrang Dal and VHP Oppose Hinn's Prayer Meet

January 16, 2005, 5:16 pm

Times of India

Festival of Blessings has organised a prayer meeting led by Benny Hinn on January 21, 22 and 23 at the Jakkur airfield.

The stage and shamianas have been erected to house the prayer. Benny Hinn is a US-based Israeli-born prayer leader who holds prayer meetings across the world and is regularly seen on the God channel.

The organisers have built a stage large enough to accommodate 2,400 people. A number of persons from across the country are expected to participate.

Among the VVIPs flying in to participate are HRD minister Arjun Singh, chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Oomen Chandy and Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy, apart from Karnataka CM Dharam Singh.

People from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and West Asia will come, say the organisers. Special buses and trains will ferry people to Bangalore from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Police Commissioner S. Mariswamy, who visited the venue on Wednesday, said: "We expect unprecedented crowds and we'll have adequate numbers of policemen," he said. There will be additional Home Guards apart from a 25-bed hospital complete with 50 doctors, 100 nurses and 15,000 volunteers.

On January 17, the organisers — national chairman, Festival of Blessings, Gul Kripalani, former DG and IGP T. Srinivasulu and former DGP L.R. Revansiddaiah former HC judge M.F. Saldanha, among others, will hold a press conference at the Press Club.

Saffron sees red: The Bajrang Dal and VHP have opposed the programme. VHP regional organising secretary Pramod Mutalik alleged: "The programme will accommodate 30 lakh people. There are only 12 lakh Christians in Karnataka and the remaining 18 lakh will be Hindus, whom Hinn plans to convert."

Mutalik said: "The VHP and Bajrang Dal will give the government an ultimatum of January 17 to impose a ban on the programme. If not, activists from across the state will come to protest against the programme on January 21."

Though his party has opposed the meeting, BJP MP H.T. Sangliana has confirmed his participation.


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