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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 12:15 GMT
Hindus protest at evangelist show
Benny Hinn
Benny Hinn has held prayer meetings in India in the past
Hardline Hindu activists in southern India have protested against the visit of American TV evangelist Benny Hinn.

Some businesses in Bangalore were also shut in response to a strike call by the activists against Mr Hinn's three-day visit to the city.

Mr Hinn is one of America's most famous evangelists and has his own daily television show, This Is Your Day.

He is expected to hold well-attended prayer meetings on the outskirts of Bangalore on Friday.

The BBC's Sunil Raman says there have been a few incidents of stone throwing, damage to public property and attempts to stop traffic by protestors.

Banners and posters saying "Benny Hinn Go Back" have also been put up in Bangalore, hub of India's software industry in Karnataka state.

'Miracle meetings'

The prayer meetings on Friday are called "festival of blessings" and are expected to attract tens of thousands of people.

Bangalore-based Hindu organisations, including a main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, say that Mr Hinn would use these meetings to convert Hindus to Christianity.

Organisers deny such allegations.

Dr Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said this was not the first time Mr Hinn was in India.

He said the evangelist performed prayer meetings in Mumbai and Delhi last year when the BJP was heading the federal government.

The Benny Hinn website claims "4.8m people attended during three miracle-filled services" in Mumbai last year.

Mr Hinn claims to have healing powers.

The ruling Congress-led state government has refused to ban Mr Hinn's meetings.

The organisers claim that chief ministers of three southern Indian states and a senior federal minister had agreed to attend the Bangalore meetings but had decided to stay away after the protests began.

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