Based on HAV complaint Foreign evangelist told to keep off convention

published on October 27, 2006

T’PURAM: A British evangelist, Paul Enthal, who had plans to land in the city without the necessary documents to address a Christian convention on Thursday was asked to keep away or face the consequences.

Enthal was invited by the Christian group Torch of Truth to be the celebrity preacher at ‘Bless 2006’, an evangelical convention organised at the Kanjiramkulam stadium on Thursday. Following the warning by the police, the evangelist cancelled his plans. The police acted on the complaint given by the Hindu Aikya Vedi.

According to the police, Enthal possessed just a C-category visa normally issued to business delegates. ‘‘With this he can only attend the convention but cannot address the audience,’’ a top police source said.

The organisers of the convention had given the impression that their star guest had the sanction of the British High Commissioner. On close examination it was found that the British evangelist did not possess any such sanction. The mike order given for the event was promptly revoked. The permission to use the mike was restored only after the police extracted a written undertaking from the organisers that the convention will be held without the address of Paul Enthal. According to a top police source, local Christian groups who invite foreign evangelists for their conventions are unaware of the law.

Normally they arrive on a tourist or delegate visa, which does not give the holder the right to engage in religious discourses. For such activities, a diplomatic visa issued by the Ministry of External Affairs is mandatory. However, a number of such religious conventions involving foreigners take place on the sly.

‘‘We come to know of such events only when the organisers approach us for the permission to use a mike. But a majority of such conventions in the city does not require the use of a mike and are therefore unknown to us,’’ a senior police official said.

Last year, a foreign evangelist, Cooper, was saved by the police from a violent mob and deported back to his country. A few months ago, the police intervened to prevent another foreign evangelist from participating in a Christian convention at Amaravila near Parassala here.

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