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Resentment against evangelist's programme

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JAN. 17. There seems to be growing resentment about the State Government patronage for the California-based evangelist, Benny Hinn's religious programme, called the "Festival of Blessings" slated here this week. Today, heads of 17 Hindu Mutts, including Sri Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Mutt, met to discuss the portents of such events for the country.

The meeting unanimously resolved to demand that the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, cancel the permission given for the event at the Jakkur airfield from January 21 to 23. The Government had no business patronising a person "who has been castigated and disowned by the clergy in his own country," the swamijis said.

Proof sought

Sri Vishvesha Tirtha said that although Hinduism is the most tolerant religion, its leaders could not watch people with an ulterior agenda take advantage and entice gullible people to Christianity.

"Such an assault on Hinduism has been going on for decades and there are elements amidst us who encourage such persons for their own gains. If it is indeed true that Benny Hinn can cure disease and wipe out misery with a mere touch, let the Government prove this, and we will accept it," the Swamiji said.

Swami Harshananda of Ramakrishna Mutt stressed the tolerant nature of Hinduism and urged all Hindu leaders to shed their differences and fight the Government for having given its approval to a programme that was demeaning to Hindu values.

Sadhu Rangarajan of Bharat Matha Gurukula Ashrama in Krishnarajapuram alleged that the CIA apart from affluent Christians in the U.S. had pledged $1.4 billion for experiments in mass conversions in Asia and elsewhere.

The other heads of Mutts who attended the meeting on Monday are: Sri Rangapriya Mahadeshika Swami of Ashtangayoga Vijnana Mandira; Swami Nirbhayananda Saraswathi of Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ashram, Bijapur; and Swami Veereshananda Saraswathi of the same ashram from Tumkur; Swami Yogeshananda of Ramakrishna Yogashram; Sri Shivapuri Swami of Omkar Ashram; Sri Vivekananda Sharanaswami, Kaveri Ashram, Kodagu; Sri Shantaveerananda Swami, Sri Koladamutt; Sri Vidyabhinava Vidyaranya Bharati, Koodli Sringeri Mutt; Swami Keshavadasa, Swami Narayana Pantha; Sri Kumara Chandreshekaranath Swami of Vishwa Okkaliga Samsthana; Sri Chidatmananda Swami, Akshara Vidyadevashram; Sri Chidhwana Swami, Ganjam Mutt; Sri Raghunatha Guruji, Temple of Success; and Sri Mahantalinga Shivacharya Swami, Vibhutipura Mutt.

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