Cult leader known as Comrade Bala 'brainwashed and raped young women then kept them prisoners at his Maoist collective for more than 30 years'

Daily Mail, UK/November 12, 2015

By Martin Robinson

A Maoist leader who brainwashed followers into believing he was God raped two women in a commune where he held his own daughter prisoner for 30 years, a court heard today.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 74, known as Comrade Bala, carried out a 'brutal' campaign of violence and sexual abuse on women who joined a cult built around his Communist beliefs in Brixton, south London.
The Maoist repeatedly raped two women telling them he was 'purifying them' to 'scrub them clean of the bourgeois culture' in the outside world, jurors heard.

Bala's child was conceived with cult member Sian Davies, who died in 1997, and their daughter barely left the house over 30 years and never went to school or to see a doctor or a dentist.

When she was born she was not allowed to be cuddled or breastfed by her mother because she was 'collective property' and Bala shook his daughter's cot violently if she cried too much, the court was told.
As a little girl she would cry and wet herself in fear as she saw Bala scream and beat the women, the court heard.

The terrified rape victims fell under his spell as he lectured on communism in south London the 1970s.

They believed Comrade Bala was an 'all-seeing' deity who could summon natural disasters so never dared to leave his side, Southwark Crown Court was told.

One rape victim tried to leave the cult after ten years but became so frightened and disorientated in the outside world she telephoned her captor and asked him to collect her.

The women would have to stand around him in a semi circle for up to four hours a day and listen to him lecture, hector and criticise them, it is alleged. 

Balakrishnan told them his abuse was to 'scrub them clean of the bourgeois culture and lifestyle,' it is said.

His daughter was kept in almost complete isolation until she was 30, and prevented from leaving the house the sect shared.

One victim said they had to wait 'as if waiting for an appointment' to see Balakrishnan for sex, while one of the senior members of the cult would call them in when it was their turn.

His three victims became so brainwashed they believed he was a god who even had control over nature, jurors were told Balakrishnan's alleged abuse wasn't exposed until the final victim managed to escape in 2014.

Originally he was the organiser of a communist group in the 1970s called the 'Workers' institute' which met at Acre Lane in Brixton.

He drew both male and female recruits with his plans to 'over throw the fascist state,' but over the years his behaviour became more controlling, jurors heard.

At the time he was in his 30s, and was described as a charismatic man and an inspiring public speaker by his followers.

But, by the late 1970s, the remaining six members - including his wife - had become so brainwashed they believed he was 'all powerful and all seeing'.

Each of the women lived in isolation and in fear of violence of Balakrishnan, and were barred from seeking medical help or speaking to those outside the cult.

Balakrishnan had made himself 'Party Secretary of the Workers' Institute', and members were brainwashed to recognise only his authority and that of Chairman Mao to lead the revolution.

Some of the women were sent out to work because the cult needed money, but were forced to keep a diary of their interactions with their colleagues to hand over to Balakrishnan.

They would receive daily lectures from 'Comrade Bala' and would be subjected to humiliating punishments, including beatings, in front of other members of the group.

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC, said: 'This case concerns the brutal and calculated manipulation by one man to subjugate women under his control.

'In order to bend them to his will he used mental and physical dominance and violence, sexual degradation.

'In relation to one, his daughter, he controlled every sphere of her life to the extent that she was unable either emotionally or physically to leave his influence until she was 30 years old and ill with diabetes.

'[Two of the collective] were forced into sexual acts over which they had no choice and were deliberately degrading and humiliating - he seemed to exult in his power over them,' she added.

'The house was locked at all times and those inside were unable to come and go freely, they were not allowed to go into certain streets.

'Bala said that the door had to be locked to keep out the fascist agents who would otherwise be planted among the people living around us.

'He became more and more paranoid and this vision of the world had to be accepted unquestioningly.'

None of the women were allowed to read, except for prescribed communist works, and were forced to cut their ties with their families.

Ms Cottage said: 'Bala said he had to control people's minds and scrub them clean of the bourgeois culture and lifestyle.

'Slowly and gradually personal freedoms within the collective were eroded.

'Family members were ostracised and pushed out as the state could use them to attack the collective and in due course he said that family had become fascist agents and they were not allowed to see them,' she said.

Members of the collective were also forced to spy on each other on behalf of the defendant.

'From being a collective agitating for the rights of the proletariat, the group had become the cult of Aravindan Balakrishnan who had deliberately undermined and psychologically abused them to the extent that each was unable to make decisions independently of him,' Ms Cottage said.

Balakrishnan began sexually abusing the victims when his wife, Chanda Pattni, 67, fell into a diabetic coma in 1979.

Even when she recovered, she and her sister -who was also part of the collective - would be sent away so Balakrishnan could have sex with other members, it is said.

Over the years, a few members managed to leave the cult, while one died in 1997, but Balakrishnan was not arrested until the final member escaped in 2014.

Balakrishnan, of Edmonton, denies seven counts of indecent assault, four counts of rape and three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He further denies one count of cruelty to a child under 16 and one count of false imprisonment.

The trial continues.

Trial hears of tragic child born and raised in captivity

Comrade Bala had a sexual relationship with one of the women in the commune, Sian Davies, who later died in 1997.

She fell pregnant and when she began to show Bala 'accused her of allowing the bourgeoisie to attack her and of having gas in her stomach', jurors heard.

When she gave birth 'the defendant insisted that the baby was the result of electronic warfare', Ms Cottage said.

Miss Davies was not allowed to breastfeed or cuddle her child, who became 'collective property', the court heard.

And he shook his daughter's cot violently if she cried too much, the court was told.

She lived a life of isolation and was robbed of her childhood, it is alleged.

She had few toys, no television and was hidden from the outside world, the prosecutor said.

The little girl would cry and wet herself in fear as she saw Bala scream and beat the women, the court heard.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

Educational DVDs and Videos