TDP MLA V Anitha, who recently was appointed as a member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board, was forced to hold a press meet on Saturday after a video began doing the rounds on the internet, claiming that she was Christian.
Dismissing these allegations, the Payakaraopeta legislator stated that she had always been a Hindu and had never converted to any other religion.
The small video clip being circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp shows Anitha during an interview with Vanitha TV in 2014, where she seemingly says, "I'm Christian. Even now, there will be a Bible in my bag, and one in my car. I don't go out without it,"
The video gets cut off abruptly as she says 'but' after making this statement.
Pointing this out, Anitha told reporters that the video had been edited by miscreants and pointed fingers at the YSRCP.
The MLA said that she was born a Hindu as her parents and her husband belong to the Madiga community, classified as Scheduled Caste (SC) in Andhra Pradesh.
"Generally, many people think that SC people are Christians. Similarly, a few of my family members and relatives are Christians. But, my father and mother have never converted to another religion. The YSRC members might have edited and started circulating the video to create a controversy. Being a teacher in the initial stage of my career, I am habituated to reading books. For me, all religions are equal. I read all religious books like the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita and the Quran," she told reporters.
When the video first began doing the rounds, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, demanded Anitha's removal.
"Itâ€™s nothing but sacrilege. How can a self-proclaimed Christian be appointed to a Hindu religious body? She should be removed forthwith," BJYM state president S Vishnuvardhan Reddy had earlier said.
During the press meet, the MLA also released her certificates which showed that she was a Hindu. She also released several photos of her over the years, from her visits to Tirumala.
She said that she was a big devotee of Lord Venkateswara and lashed out at the YSRCP for insulting her personal life and her family.