World-renowned evangelist and prophet Pastor Bernard Blessing was on Monday restrained from preaching at a convention organised by Pentecostal groups in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
The Ghana-based preacher who was to address a three-day gathering at Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium was prohibited from speaking after Hindu groups pressured the police citing visa norms.
Thiruvananthapuram police commissioner M R Ajith Kumar told media that Blessing had come on an x-visa (entry visa), and this does not permit "any right to make religious preaching". Blessing was, however, permitted to attend the event but not speak.
The hullabaloo over Blessing's presence came after Hindu outfits raised several allegations on 'conversion' and 'disturbing peace'. As a result, at the last minute, the evangelist was barred from preaching and given a conditional access.
Hindu outfits also created a tense situation in the city, even blockading the vehicles ferrying believers to the venue.
The organisers claimed that the African minister was not objected from preaching last year in Kochi. But, now the police demand that Blessing obtain a clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs to address religious gatherings.
A notice has been issued both to the organisers and Blessing who is scheduled to attend similar meetings in two other cities. The police commissioner also warned that if rules were violated, a case would be registered under Section 14 of the Foreigners' Registration Act.
According to the coordinator of the event, Dennis Jacob Kodakeril, the convention brings together the country's prominent Christian leaders and was organised for the state's peace and harmony. "We have no ulterior motive other than praying," he says.
The organisers have debunked the allegations of conversion against Blessing. This is the second visit of Blessing who has been to over 100 countries with the Gospel.
Blessing who is the president of Rescue Life International is “regularly sought by world leaders for godly wisdom and prophetic insights on matters of state."