UK Maoist cult followers brainwashed, raped

2015-11-12 21:06
Maoist activist Aravindan Balakrishnan is charged with 25 offences including rape and child cruelty and false imprisonment relating to three women. (Andrew Cowie, AFP)

Maoist activist Aravindan Balakrishnan is charged with 25 offences including rape and child cruelty and false imprisonment relating to three women. (Andrew Cowie, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - A charismatic Maoist cult leader brainwashed and raped followers in his commune, and kept his own daughter imprisoned for 30 years, a London court heard on Thursday.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, known as Comrade Bala, terrorised women in the commune over decades, Southwark Crown Court was told as his trial began.

"This case concerns the brutal and calculated manipulation by one man to subjugate women under his control," prosecutor Rosina Cottage said.

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

"In relation to one... 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."

Balakrishnan was at the heart of a south London communist group in the 1970s, jurors heard.

The commune became the "cult of Bala" as his influence waned and his group dwindled to six women.

"One was his wife Chandra, but she and the others had all been so dominated and brainwashed to the extent that they believed that he was all powerful and all-seeing," Cottage said.

"Each woman lived a life of violence, fear, isolation and confinement."

Balakrishnan denies seven counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape against two women during the 1970s and 1980s.

He also denies three counts of actual bodily harm, cruelty to a child under the age of 16 and false imprisonment.

Daughter beaten

His alleged victims cannot be named for legal reasons.

His daughter was beaten, bullied, banned from going to school or playing with friends. She barely left the house, jurors heard.

Brought up as "collective property", she was terrified into subjugation, Cottage said.

She had to "worship the defendant as God," the prosecutor said.

Balakrishnan convinced followers he controlled the Sun, Moon, wind and fires.

They thought he had a mind control machine monitoring their thoughts.

One woman was so paranoid she thought the Americans were controlling her because she bought a pair of Levi's trousers, "a marque so identified with American imperialism", jurors heard.

The two women he sexually abused were "cowed into submission" and forced into "deliberately degrading and humiliating" sex acts, said Cottage.

After raping one woman, he told her he was "purifying her", the prosecutor said.

Read more on:    uk  |  religion

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.