The highly anticipated ‘Pray for India-Conference 2023,’ scheduled to take place in Bengaluru on December 16th and 17th, faced an unexpected setback as authorities cancelled the event featuring renowned Johannesburg-based author and televangelist Alph Lukau, also known as an apostle of faith. Lukau, who had been slated to address the Christian religious gathering from 4 pm to 9 pm, encountered visa rule violations that prompted the cancellation.
In response to concerns raised by activists, it was highlighted that foreign nationals holding any type of visa are prohibited from preaching or propagating their religion in India, in accordance with Indian visa regulations. A post addressing the cancellation explained, “We regret to announce, due to unexpected and unavoidable circumstances beyond all measure, the Pray for India Conference 2023 to be held on December 16th and 17th at Palace Grounds Bengaluru stands cancelled.”
Organisers, seeking legal recourse, petitioned the High Court in an attempt to proceed with the event and allow the foreign pastor to preach, despite the legal restrictions. However, Hindu activists and forums intervened, submitting an application to uphold the law.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Protection Forum submitted a letter to the Commissioner of Immigration and Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), Bengaluru. The letter emphasised that the event, set to take place at Palace Grounds on December 16th and 17th, featured a talk by Pastor Alph Lukau, a South African national. It pointed out that Indian visa norms strictly prohibit foreigners, regardless of visa type, from preaching or propagating their religion in India.
The letter accused Lukau of deceiving the Indian Consulate to obtain a visa, alleging that his travel to India was solely for evangelical conversions. It urged authorities to take necessary precautions to prevent the violation of Indian visa norms.
The organisers of Pray for India have approached the High Court with a prayer to permit them to conduct the event and permit the Foreign Pastor to preach which contravenes the law of the land.
I will file an Intervening Application. https://t.co/uDjkTYBTNT
— Girish Bharadwaj (@Girishvhp) December 15, 2023
The event, organised in collaboration with Shalom and the All India Christian Federation, aimed to provide attendees with an opportunity to “experience the power of faith,” implicitly referencing the Christian faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ on the specified dates.
A group of funeral directors in South Africa has taken legal action against Pastor Alph Lukau, who gained notoriety in 2019 for claiming to have resurrected a deceased man. In a viral video, Pastor Lukau was seen commanding a man lying in a coffin to “rise up,” resulting in the man jerking upright to the astonishment of worshippers.
During a Sunday service, Lukau exclaimed, “Can you see what happened? This man died on Friday. He was in the mortuary. This is a sign that no matter what the devil’s done, it is over. Devil, I told you wherever I find you I will kick you.”
Three funeral homes, namely Kingdom Blue, Kings & Queens Funeral Services, and Black Phoenix, have decided to file lawsuits, citing reputational harm and alleging that they were deceived by the purported resurrection “scheme.” Local media outlets were informed of the allegations against church personnel.
The church, Alleluia International Ministries, reportedly retracted its claim of the man’s resurrection, acknowledging that he was “already alive” when transported to the Kramerville grounds. The ministry asserted that Pastor Lukau had merely “completed a miracle that God had already started.”
The incident, which occurred outside Pastor Lukau’s church in Johannesburg, drew widespread criticism and jeers, sparking a national conversation about fraudulent pastors. The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities responded, stating, “There are no such things as miracles. They are made up to try to get money from the hopelessness of our people.”
According to his website, Pastor Alph Lukau identifies as the “founder and General Overseer of Alleluia Ministries International.” Described as a Bible Scholar and renowned International Speaker, he claims to minister on various platforms worldwide, facilitating salvation, healing, and deliverance, as well as witnessing the restoration of families and the occurrence of many miracles.
It further added, “He is a coach, mentor, father and leader among leaders. As a spiritual father to many, he also submitted to the late pastor Jacques A Vernaud who was his spiritual father until his passing on September 28, 2011. Pastor Alph is also known for his passion for perfection in service delivery and continues to set the standard for excellence in ministry. He is also an accomplished businessman and is an icon in the marketplace.” His wife, the First Lady Celeste Lukau serves with him in the ministry. The preacher has over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 6 million followers on his Facebook as well as Instagram accounts.