Admn notice to evangelist for ‘spreading superstition’
The district administration has issued show-cause notice to the organisers of evangelist Peter Youngren’s ‘Allahabad Friendship Festival’ on the ground that he appeared to be spreading superstition. While the programme, which the administration had asked to be videographed, has not been stopped, the notice has asked the organisers to file a response within 24 hours, following which a formal decision will be taken.
The programme started on Wednesday and will run till October 27. The notice was slapped after the administration reviewed the video footage, which prima facie appeared to be spreading superstition.
Additional District Magistrate (City), Ashok Kumar, said “things will become clear by Friday afternoon.”
Additional City Magistrate-I Sunil Kumar Mishra, who issued the notice after reviewing the footage, said: “People in the footage are claiming they were cured of various physical problems simply by the blessings of the main speaker (Youngren). Since there seemed to be no basis for such claims, a notice has been issued seeking explanation as to why it should not be construed that the programme was spreading superstition, and, hence, the permission given be withdrawn.”
Mishra added that besides Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s openly stated opposition to the programme, he had received complaints from some other quarters as well.
When some representatives of the organising committee were questioned, Mishra informed, they claimed that “what appears to be superstition to others is, in reality, a matter of faith for the attendees.”
The footage largely pertains to people with disabilities like blindness and hearing problem, and they could be seen claiming to have been cured after meeting Youngren on the stage, Mishra said.
During a press conference on the eve of the programme, Youngren had said he did not have divine powers, but people get healed due to his faith in God.
Organising committee chairman Daniel Masih, could not be reached for comment.