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Thursday, November 12, 2015
Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan 'sexually humiliated followers while claiming he controlled the sun and the wind'
The leader of a Maoist cult sexually humiliated followers while claiming he controlled all of nature and planned to take over the world, a court has heard.
Aravindan Balakrishnan , 75, known as 'Comrade Bala’, led a communist Maoist group - the Workers' Institute or ‘the collective’ - from various premises across south and west London over three decades.
When the group began, Balakrishnan, then aged in his 30s, was a "charismatic man" who "drew a number of people to him and his plan to overthrow the fascist state, as he saw it,” a jury was told.
Grey-haired Balakrishnan, of Enfield, north London, sat in the dock wearing a blue anorak and thick-rimmed spectacles on his first day of trial at Southwark Crown Court.
He denies seven counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape against two female followers during the 1970s and 1980s.
A court heard he would ritualistically humiliate followers through sexual abuse and kept his daughter 'effectively as a prisoner' for 30 years.
The girl was the daughter of follower Sian Davies, who died in 1997.
Prosecuting Rosina Cottage QC, said the house they all shared was permanently locked to “keep out the fascist agents who would otherwise be planted among the people living around him”.
From various homes around south and west London, 'Comrade Bala’ planned world revolution and claimed he controlled everything, including "the sun, the moon, the wind and fires".
He was to be worshipped as God, Miss Cottage said, and was the “natural centre” of all.
If there was a natural disaster anywhere in the world, it was because someone had defied him, the court heard.
Miss Cottage said: "He said that he, Bala, had magical powers and was going to overthrow all governments and become leader of the world. He said that he had a mind control machine that monitored all their thoughts.
"They all did as they were told as his paranoid view of the world had been deeply instilled in them all and they were too scared to oppose him.
"An example of his control was that one woman bought a pair of trousers for work, a pair of jeans, Levis.
"She became terrified that the Americans were exerting mind control over her because she had bought a mark so identified with American imperialism.
"If you questioned him or said anything he considered anti-party he would become furiously angry and hit the offending individual.
"He told them that he knew how to kill them by pressing a pressure point on the neck. She believed he had the power of life and death over them all.
"The atmosphere within the collective was controlled by the defendant and his moods. Each woman lived a life of violence, fear, isolation and confinement.
"In particular, [his daughter who cannot be named for legal reasons], who was born to the defendant and another collective member, Sian Davies, had no independent life."
The defendant would sexually abuse his followers, it is alleged, and make them write out their sexual history, which he would use to humiliate them in front of the others.
He made one write pornographic stories and wanted her to write about “eating his s***”.
Miss Cottage said: “Chandra [his wife] and Shobna [his sister-in-law] began to be sent away so that he could have sex with one or other of the women.
"He would tell them to have a bath before seeing him and it was Sian who told each when it was their turn.”
He would preach politics to his followers for up to four hours at a time, making them stand around him in a semi-circle and beat them if they wanted to sit, the court was told.
The defendant’s daughter was “collective property” and “hidden from the world”, Miss Cottage said, with even former neighbours unaware there was a child in the house.
She spent days on end staring out of the window at a world she was not allowed to go into unaccompanied.
Miss Cottage said: "She was totally enclosed within the group and was never allowed to play with other children.
"She had few toys and there was no television there. If anyone came to the house all evidence of her would be hidden.”
When other members of the collective were beaten by Bala, the young girl was so frightened she wet herself, the court was told.
She knew her home as ‘AB’s Communist Collective Family Pilot Unit’, the court heard.
She only found out Sian, “a solider of Bala”, was her mother after Sian’s death in 1997 and has no memory of ever being cuddled, Miss Cottage said.