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How Maoist leader Aravindan Balakrishnan kept his bizarre cult alive for 40 years

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 11:52 IST
  • Maoist leader Aravindan Balakrishnan has been convicted of rape, sexual assault and child cruelty.
  • Kerala-born Balakrishnan led a women-only cult from 1976-2013 in South London.
  • He convinced the women that he had God-like powers. He raped and assaulted the women, and kept his daughter imprisoned for 30 years.

A British court on 4 December convicted an Indian-origin Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan of rape, sexual assault, child cruelty, assault and false imprisonment relating to three women between 1976 to 2013.

According to the BBC, the 73-year-old, who was born in Kerala, was convicted of six counts of indecent assault, four counts of rape, two counts of bodily harm and cruelty to a minor - he imprisoned his daughter for 30 years.

The verdict comes after a two-year long investigation into the workings of the secretive Maoist cult - the Workers Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought - that Balakrishan founded in south London in the late 1970s.

What Comrade Bala told his cult

According to a Guardian report, Balakrishnan told his cult that China was using electronic and satellite warfare to take over the word.

He convinced his women-only cult that he had God-like powers and told them about the existence of a "warfare machine called Jackie - an acronym of Jehovah, Allah, Christ, Krishna and Immortal Easwaran".

The Guardian reports that Balakrishnan once predicted that "one day 7 billion people were going to be blown up and that he would replace them with a billion who are like robots."

Abuse and child cruelty

The women were sent to work, and their wages were used to fund the cult. Balakrishnan would spend his days reading in his room, the Guardian reports. It has been revealed that he raped and physically abused at least three of his women followers. The women were also prevented from leaving the cult.

Balakrishnan fathered a child with Sian Davies, a cult member who died in 1997 after reportedly falling from a window. The child was kept isolated in a room and forbidden from going to school or making friends for 30 years. She fled in 2013 with the help of a charity.

On Friday, Balakrishnan's daughter, 30, told the BBC, "I believe justice has definitely been done... I am very happy with the result and, at the end of the day, he is still my dad." Authorities are now investigating the death of Sian Davies.

First published: 5 December 2015, 1:31 IST