A cult leader who imprisoned and raped women for 30 years has died in prison aged 81. Aravindan Balakrishnan, who ran a Maoist clan, preyed upon his female followers and persuaded them he had god-like powers.
The local Enfield referred to himself as Comrade Bala and was jailed in 2016 for 23 years after his cult, which he had been running since the 1970s, was exposed. Balakrishnan was convicted of a number of offences, including child cruelty, false imprisonment and assault.
He died in HMP Dartmoor yesterday, the BBC reported. A Prison Service spokesperson said the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman had been informed of Balakrishnan’s death, reports Sky News.
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During his trial at Southwark Crown Court, jurors heard that he raped two of his followers. He also terrified his prisoners with a made-up robot he called Jackie which he claimed could read their minds.
He fathered a daughter with one of his victims, who is now 39 years old. Katy Morgan-Davies said her ordeal de ella had been “horrible, so dehumanizing and degrading” after she waived her right to anonymity. She added: “I felt like a caged bird with clipped wings.”
Ms Morgan-Davies branded her father a “narcissist and a psychopath” and added: “The people he looked up to were people like Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein – you couldn’t criticize them either in the house. They were his gods and his heroes. These were the sort of people he wanted to emulate.”
During her torment, she had been beaten and banned from singing nursery rhymes, going to school, or making friends. She accused her father of using the cult as a “pilot unit” for his grand ambitions of taking over the world.
She said: “I used to think, ‘God, if the whole world is going to be like this, what way out is there? How am I going to live? I cannot live in this. So I used to think that the best way would be to die.”
It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she learned that another of her father’s followers, Sian Davis, known as Comrade Sian, was actually her mother. Ms Davies, a GP’s daughter from Ceredigion, Wales, fell from a window at the cult’s base on Christmas Eve 1996 and died several months later in hospital.
Ms Morgan-Davies said she remembered that night she heard screaming and shouting and saw her mother laying in a pool of her own blood, begging Balakrishnan to “kill me”. In 2013, she escaped her father’s cult after memorizing the number for an anti-slavery charity she saw on the news.
She has since moved to Leeds and started an education. “I’ve been a non-person all my life and now is my chance to be myself,” she said.
Comrade Bala’s political activities were claimed to have been motivated by atrocities committed by the British empire in Singapore, where he was brought up. Born in Kerala, India, he moved to Singapore with his father and completed his degree there, reports the Mirror.
Then, in 1963, I sailed to Britain and applied for another degree at LSE. He said he had come from a state of emergency in Singapore, post-World War Two where the “cruelty was unbelievable”, especially to those who helped the British he claimed.
Balakrishnan told the court: “The cruelty, killing, torturing, arresting and whole families were deported back to China. That is not something anyone can like.”
In the UK, he soon became involved on the political scene and quickly described himself as a “revolutionary socialist”. He began speaking publicly and recruiting fellow students, in particular he favored Malaysian nurses, for his political cause.
In the early 1970s, Balakrishnan set up the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, his cult, aimed at overthrowing the “fascist state” and insisted his followers called him Comrade Bala. The main belief of the group was that only he and Chinese dictator Mao Zedong had the authority to “establish an international dictatorship of the proletariat”.
From there, over time, his views appear to become more and more extreme and the jury heard terrifying details of his cult like how his followers were ordered to rejoice in the deaths of anti-communists. Balakrishnan apparently ‘wished’ three million people had died in the Tiananmen Square massacre, rather than then 3,000 who lost their lives.