Maoist cult leader guilty over sex assaults and false imprisonment

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Aravindan Balkrishnan was known as 'Comrade Bala'

Aravindan Balkrishnan was known as ‘Comrade Bala’

Friday 04 December 2015

Maoist cult leader guilty over sex assaults and false imprisonment

Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, has been found guilty of a string of sex assaults, cruelty to a child and false imprisonment following a trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

Balakrishnan known as Comrade Bala, carried out a “brutal” campaign of violence and “sexual degradation” against a number of women over several decades.

He brainwashed his followers into thinking he had God-like powers, and invented a supernatural force known as Jackie who, he said, could trigger natural disasters if his will was flouted.

After fathering a daughter with one of his acolytes, he kept her prisoner in their home for three decades.

Balakrishnan, of Enfield, north London, was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape after a trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

He was also convicted of two counts of ABH, cruelty to a child under 16, and false imprisonment. He was cleared of one count of ABH and one count of indecent assault.

Balakrishnan’s daughter, now in her early 30s, only found out that her mother was Sian Davies, one of his acolytes, after the woman she knew as ‘Comrade Sian’ died when she was 13.

The daughter told the court how from early childhood she was constantly beaten and mentally brutalised by ‘Comrade Bala’.

She was never hugged, and was attacked for any minor transgression, including singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

She described living in a cult where anyone outside their number was deemed a “fascist agent”, and in a stifled atmosphere of fear and paranoia where it was “a crime to imagine”.

Banned from school, leaving the house alone, from making friends, and stripped of any individual identity of her own, she wrote heartbreaking diaries describing herself as a “shadow woman”.

She was so lonely she even hugged the toilet and taps in the bathroom.

In one diary entry she wrote: “I’m always caged up, I feel caged like a wild animal.

“I have nothing to look forward to, I feel so miserable, so neglected.”

Deep scars

Her years of abuse and captivity have left deep scars – she has diabetes, did not know how to cross a road, handle money or get a bus ticket when she left the commune aged 30.

And while she scores highly in IQ tests, she has no formal education or qualifications.

Recently united for the first time with her family, the relatives of Ms Davies, she is now learning how to live a life free of abuse where she can, for the first time, make her own decisions.

The court heard that Balakrishnan created an atmosphere of fear and paranoia where the women were encouraged to inform on each other to gain his favour and attempt to achieve ideological purity.

He convinced them he could read minds, and that the outside world was swarming with “fascist agents” and “the party” only spoke through him.

His victims had to sing songs eulogising him and criticising themselves and others in group sessions reminiscent of early communist China.

Those who made the tiniest transgression, such as not taking the bins out on time or folding the laundry in the wrong way, would be beaten.

His tyrannical behaviour extended to sexual abuse, and he subjected two followers to demeaning assaults and rapes.

Balakrishnan was remanded in custody to be sentenced on 29 January.

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