The Karnataka High Court has dismissed on Friday the petition filed by Sri Rama Sene not to allow American Evangelist Benny Hinn from participating in a Prayer Conference to be held in Bangalore starting tomorrow; and has asked the police to maintain peace during the event.
Sri Rama Sene's Bangalore unit has filed the petition questioning the Bangalore City Police's inaction on its representation to restrain Benny Hinn from participating in the event and alleged that Hinn's visit to the city in 2005 had "disturbed peace" in the city.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna who disposed off the case said that the petitioners and any other persons should not claim superior right to come in the way of exercise of fundamental rights of every other citizen, including the right to assemble and express their views.
The court took assurance from the Sri Rama Sene's city unit that "either they or others on their behalf do not propose to create any commotion or disturbance by themselves in the name of protesting as exercise of fundamental right." The court appreciated the petitioners for promising that they would not create any commotion or disturbance.
Nevertheless, the court also directed the state police to take necessary precautionary measures for maintaining peace in the city" during the five-day event of the American evangelist Benny Hinn.
Earlier, during the hearing, the Bench wanted to know "why the petitioners wanted to hold demonstration against this religious event and why they do not hold such a demonstration when thousands join for mass recital of the Bhagwad Gita."
"India is a secular country. It has so many sects, languages, beliefs and religions as well as social and cultural groups. Tolerance is the need of the hour. We are shocked that the courts are used for these kinds of issues," the Bench observed orally.
Apart from Rev. Hinn, Rev. Chris Oyakhilome, well-known evangelist from Nigeria, Rev. Paul Dhinakaran from Chennai, local evangelist Rev. M A Varughese and the host pastor Rev. Johnson V of Bethel Assemblies of God (AG) Church in Bangalore are scheduled to preach on the event January 15-19, 2014 daily from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily at the Supernova Arena and Convention Centre, Yehalanka Airforce Base in Bangalore. In the five-day event, Rev. Hinn is scheduled to preach on 15th, 16th and 17th January.
High Court dismisses petition against Benny Hinn's visit to Bangalore, directs Police to maintain peace
Published 14 January 2014 | Babu Thomas