BENGALURU: Acity-based couple who have brought forth the activities of Seventh Day Adventist church (SDA) on Spencer Road, including that of performing ‘bogus baptisms’ and luring the poor to become members of the church, are now claiming harassment by the church. James White, a member of the church, says, “I have personally witnessed bogus baptisms and did not want to be a part of it.
I have sent several e-mails to the president of the SDA, Suresh Daniel, hoping that the matter would be looked into. However, till date, no action has been taken from their end,” says James , who also runs an organisation, God Cares Ministries under the church.
He further alleges that the “church has been creating fake certificates for their members to go abroad for studies.” His wife, Vijaya James, a teacher of the Seventh-day Adventist English High School & Pre-University College, has been working at the school since November last year. The couple claims they are being penalised for speaking out on the misdoings of the church. “I have not taken a single class till date, and I’m forced to sit in the library though I am getting paid. They are penalising me for speaking out against the church,” says Vijaya.
An FIR was filed at the Ramamurthy Nagar Police Station in October 2017, after James was allegedly beaten up by unknown persons believed to have been sent by the church. “After the incident, I rushed to the police station and registered a case. However, no action has been taken till date,” he says. The case was filed under sections 506 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for criminal intimidation; word, gesture or act intended to insult modesty of a woman)
SDA president Suresh Daniel says that James’ claims are false and baseless. “He is an unsatisfactory performer, who just sends e-mails to everyone”. In response to why Vijaya isn’t being given work, Suresh responds, “We have other obligations, so we have kept her like that”.
A sub-inspector at the Ramamurthy Nagar Police station says that investigation has recently begun, although he declined to comment as to why it took a year to look into the registered complaint.