DESPITE all the brouhaha raised by fundamentalist organizations such as the VHP and the Bajrang Dal, the Hyderabad Festival with Franklin Graham concluded in the city without an incident.
Although the Hindu outfits had declared that they would hold protest meetings against the festival, the police maintained law and order in the city and at the venue of the meeting by arresting troublemakers ahead of the meeting.
However, the only hitch in the Franklin Graham meeting was that one of his aides, identified as Derek Forbes, was asked to leave the country immediately for alleged violation of visa norms.
A New Indian Express report Graham said while Graham’s visa has been found valid, his aide, Derek Forbes, is said to have entered the country on a tourist visa, which does not permit him to participate in religious activities. Forbes is the assistant director of the Hyderabad Festival.
The Special Branch of the police has prepared a detailed note on the matter and is sending it to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), recommending that it blacklist Forbes, the report said.
The newspaper reported quoting sources that Forbes explained he was not aware that a tourist visa forbade him from participating in religious activity.
The Hyderabad City Police found that the visa carried by Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, had an M type (M for missionary) stamp, which is valid for his activity.
“’We obtained details about passports and visas of Graham and his team from Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO). It was confirmed that Graham was travelling on a valid visa but Forbes was on tourist visa,”’ sources said.