Benny Hinn, the US–based controversial preacher, addressed three massive rallies between February 13-15, 2004 at the Bandra Kurla Complex in northwest Mumbai for an event billed as the “Festival of Blessings”. His own website claims 4.8 million people attended these services. The personalities who attented this event included then Maharashtra Governor Mohammed Fazal, then Congress MP Sunil Dutt, actors Dev Anand, Kiron Kher and Reena Roy, ghazal singer Jagjit Singh and his wife Chitra Singh, as well as popular television personality Shekhar Suman.
The Christian Broadcasting Network reports that this ‘healing crusade’ in India drew one of the largest crowds ever. “This endeavor was massive on every scale,” it says. Interestingly, the Catholic Church in Mumbai warned its members from visiting his prayer meetings in the city. The website www.christiantoday.co.in reported that “The Church, rightly worried that their faithful, many of whom watch his television programs, will flock to his meetings hoping to watch people healed from sicknesses said that Hinn was misleading Catholics with his “false prophecies, his alleged visions of angels and contacts with the dead”.”
This website describes Hinn, who claims to make contact with the dead, as a controversial figure in the west where he has been criticised for misinterpreting the Bible and prophesising the appearance of Jesus at his gatherings. His claims of miraculous healing are also treated with skepticism, it reports.
VHP warned about ‘Changai Sabha’ in Punjab
Amid growing incidents of “Changai Sabha’ (‘healing meeting’) in Punjab, VHP’s Central Joint General Secretary Dr Surendra Jain on November 26, 2021, had said that a Changai Sabha was an immoral, illegal and irreligious conspiracy of Christian missionaries to convert people by fraud; their two other potent weapons are force and allurement. He further said that despite this, then Chief Minister of Punjab Charanjit Singh Channi tarnished the dignity of his office by accepting to be the chief guest at a Changai Sabha event in Moga. The dharma-cherishing society of Punjab, the holy land of the great gurus, strongly opposed this conspiracy of illegal conversions, he added.
Dr Surendra Jain said that “Changai Sabha” is a punishable offense under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IC) and the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954. If they can heal someone with the incantation of some abracadabra, why don’t they heal millions of patients in the world? Millions of people died due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including many Church priests. If they really have any power, why weren’t they all saved? This is just a fraudulent act in which innocent and unsuspecting people are trapped and converted.
While addressing a religious gathering organised by ‘Youth Associates’, Bollywood actor Johny Lever, alias John Prakasa Rao Janumala, said he healed the liver swelling of famous actor Hrithik Roshan through prayers. The video was posted on June 8, 2019 which has been viewed by 75.95 lakh users till date.
In May 2022, pastor Pradeep Kolhe attempted to organise a big prayer meeting called “Mumbai Peace Festival 2022” in association with pastor Bajinder Singh from Punjab, who is infamous for propagating superstition in the name of healing and deliverance. The event was cancelled amid protests from activists including Sikhs.
Christain missionary Ranjan Chutia arrested in Assam for misusing religious and cultural creations of Bhakti saint Shankar Dev
On December 18, 2022, villagers of Maruvapalli village, Andhra Pradesh, caught a Christian priest red handed with young children who were lured into the church, despite many earlier warnings by the minor children’s parents and village elders against unsolicited invitation. The villagers had been complaining for a while that church authorities were enticing children as young as six and seven with sweets, chocolates and biscuits to enter the Church premises for conversion activities.
The infamous Christian preacher Sebastian Martin, founder of the Church from Vasai in Palghar district Maharashtra, was known for his claims of ‘healing’ patients suffering from severe ailments through prayers. He managed huge following through his fraudulent healing claims. The Mumbai Police booked him in 2016 under the IPC & Black Magic Act on the complaint by a Vasai resident, Nilesh Patil.