Bangalore: Controversial American evangelist Benny Hinn cancelled his visit to Bangalore to participate in a five-day religious programme from Wednesday on the city's outskirts, a police official said.
"Hinn is not coming to Bangalore. He does not figure in the programme its organisers gave us to make security arrangements. He has cancelled his trip," Bangalore Additional Commissioner (Law & Order) Kamal Pant told reporters here Tuesday/
The 60-year-old Israel-born Hinn, who visited Bangalore in 2005 amid protests for a similar event, was invited by Bethel AG Church to take part in the Christian Prayer Convention at Jakkur airfield in the city's northwest suburb.
"The prayer convention will go on as scheduled. We are providing adequate security, as the event will have huge gatherings," Pant said.
Though the Karnataka High Court Jan 10 directed police to ensure enough security for the event on a petition filed by rightwing Hindu religious outfit Sri Rama Sena seeking ban on Hinn's entry into the city, the evangelist had decided to stay away from the event.
"The list of pastors the organisers submitted seeking permission for the prayer meet does not have Hinn's name," Pant reiterated.
Apart from Hindu groups, including the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which threatened to disrupt the convention if Hinn participated, the Karnataka Christian Vichara Vedike opposed the evangelist's visit on the grounds that he promotes superstitious beliefs by claiming to cure people of diseases through healing.
"Claiming to be a godman, Hinn promotes superstition in society. How can he eradicate diseases through miracles," a Vedike member said.
BJP lawmaker Suresh Kumar said the party was wary of Hinn's visit as he had a hidden agenda to convert people to Christianity.
"It's a great relief that he (Hinn) is not coming this time. By staying away, he has ensured the communal harmony of the city is not disturbed," he told reporters later.