City Police Commissioner M.R. Ajith Kumar, on Tuesday night, issued notice to a Ghana-based evangelist, Bernard Blessing, asking him to refrain from activities that would constitute violation of the norms of the visa granted to him by the Indian government.
Mr. Blessing is here to attend a religious meeting, titled “Power Conference,” at the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium. Harvest Television and Productions and Divine Blessing Empower 09 are the organisers of the event.
On Monday, the Commissioner had issued notice to the organisers asking them to clarify with the Union Ministry of External Affairs if Mr. Blessing possessed the “Missionary Visa” for preaching at such religious congregations.
The Commissioner said in his latest notice to Mr. Blessing that the organisers were not able to furnish any document showing that the evangelist possessed the visa clearance for preaching or speaking at religious meetings.
He warned the evangelist that the police would register a case against him under Section 14 of the Foreigners’ Registration Act if he was found to have violated visa conditions. The Commissioner is also the District Foreigners’ Registration Officer.
The police served the notice to Mr. Bernard at his room in Mascot Hotel late on Tuesday.
A tense situation prevailed in the city for some time with Hindu Aikya Vedi and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activists gathering in strength near the meeting venue in a bid to prevent Mr. Blessing from addressing the congregation.
RSS district chief P. Sudhakaran said his organisation would prevent Mr. Blessing from speaking at the congregation on Wednesday. He said RSS activists would blockade vehicles ferrying believers to the venue.
The activists started raising slogans when Mr. Blessing addressed the gathering. The Commissioner reached the venue and asked the organisers to tell Mr. Blessing to stop his speech. The evangelist wound up his speech within a few minutes.
The protesters courted arrest peacefully and they were later let off on bail. Inspector-General of Police A. Hemachandran and Deputy Commissioner of Police M. Gopalakrishnan were present.