Chief Minister’s evangelist son-in-law sponsored by Andhra Govt.

published on February 10, 2009

YSR’s evangelist son-in-law triggers ‘war of words’

by Sreenivas Janyala @

Source Link:

A three-day prayer meeting organised last week in Vijayawada has the Andhra Pradesh Opposition up in arms.

They are accusing the government of using the state
machinery to help evangelist Brother Anil Kumar organise the Jesus
Christ Blessings Festival — he is the son-in-law of Chief Minister Y S
Rajasekhara Reddy.

Husband of Reddy`s daughter Sharmila, Anil Kumar
began preaching over a decade ago under the aegis of Anil World
Evangelism but it was not until December 2008 that he started gaining
prominence, organising his first Jesus Christ Blessings Festival in

Although he is known for maintaining a low
profile, huge hoardings announcing the arrival of the 38-year-old
Brother have come up in several cities and towns across Andhra Pradesh.

Other than the fact that he is the Chief
Minister`s son-in-law, Opposition parties feel there is more to Anil
Kumar`s sudden exposure to the public. The publicity overdrive since
December has coincided with the state government`s spat with another
self-styled evangelist K A Paul, founder of Gospel to Unreached
Millions and Global Peace Initiative. Paul publicly accused the Chief
Minister of being vindictive because he did not provide funds for his
elections and was, therefore, being denied funds for various charity

Political parties are alleging that the CM is
propping up his son-in-law to counter and suppress K A Paul and are
questioning the source of funds for the huge programmes that Anil Kumar
has been organising.

Anil World Evangelism is a little known
organisation. Where is it getting all the money from to organise such
huge events? Crores have been spent on life-size billboards that have
been put up all over Vijayawada. Who is behind the mobilisation of the
2 to 3 lakh people who attended the programme
said TDP spokesperson N

Government property and machinery are misused, he
is provided police security and escort everywhere he goes, the state
government arranges for full security and bandobast for his programmes
which have all the markings of a government-sponsored function
”, said

Sources at All India Christian Council say that
though Anil Kumar, a Brahmin who converted to Christianity, married
Reddy`s daughter Sharmila 10 years ago, he shot into limelight as an
evangelist only after his father-in-law became Chief Minister. Before
starting his state-wide tour, he addressed gatherings in the US, UK and

Anil Kumar established Anil World Evangelism
( in Hyderabad and the office is located in
Aditya Elite in Somajiguda area, opposite the CM`s residence campus.
The evangelist resides in Bangalore but visits Andhra very frequently
for religious meetings. When The Indian Express called him for his
comments, Anil Kumar`s close associate Paul Prasad, Director of
Administration, said he would call back but eventually did not.

Abhilash Samuel, a spokesperson of Anil World Evangelism, denied that the organisation gets any support from the government.

“It is his popularity and the faith of people in
him that draws the crowds. Anil Kumar believes that Jesus Christ is a
God of relationship, not a God of a particular religion. His philosophy
appeals to people,” he said.

Evangelist K A Paul, who is surrounded by many controversies, alleges that the Chief Minister has ‘crippled’ him.

“He has cancelled my preach missions across the
state. He has crippled me by getting police to file cases against me,
including a land-grabbing case. Anil Kumar was my disciple until August
2007 until I crossed swords with his father-in-law Chief Minister Y S
Rajasekhara Reddy. Tremendous publicity is being arranged for Anil
Kumar in an effort to highlight him and restrain me.”

“His religious meetings resemble political
meetings where crowd mobilization is done by those in power. It is very
clear they are aimed at political gains. In spite of all this, I can
say that you can buy billboards and advertising space and banners but
you cannot buy divinity. There are God-made preachers and man-made
preachers”, said Paul.

BJP`s Krishna Reddy said: “Now that his
father-in-law is Chief Minister, he is taking advantage of the
political clout. Anil Kumar wants to surpass K A Paul in becoming an
international evangelist.”

About nine years ago, Anil Kumar was caught on
the wrong side of the law. In November 2001, an illegal international
calls racket was busted in Hyderabad following a complaint by BSNL that
some telephone booth operators were misusing the services of a private
telecom company to terminate incoming international voice calls
bypassing the VSNL gateway and BSNL network. Police booked cases for
violation of the Indian Telegraphic Act and Section 420 of IPC against
four persons that included Anil Kumar who surrendered to the police.

Faced with all kinds of accusations, Rajasekhara
Reddy, who was in the Opposition at that time, even defended his
son-in-law in the Assembly stating that it was political vendetta. An
official at Punjagutta police station where the case was registered
said that they did not find any evidence of Anil Kumar`s involvement.
The chargesheet is yet to be filed.

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