Sunday 18 August 2019

Maoist cult leader sexually assaulted followers and kept daughter as slave for 30 years, court hears

Aravindan Balakrishnan alleged to have subjugated more than six women under his control and imprisoned daughter for three decades

Aravindan Balakrishnan arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, Britain November 11, 2015
Aravindan Balakrishnan arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, Britain November 11, 2015

The leader of a Maoist cult kept his own daughter as a slave, controlling every aspect of her life, bullying her, beating her and "hiding her from the outside world", a court has heard.

Aravindan Balakrishnan's daughter was born into a secretive sect where she was robbed of her childhood and her own extended family did not know of her existence, Southwark Crown Court heard.

She was hidden from the world, never sent to school, and on the very rare occasion she was allowed out she had to be accompanied by one of the adults in the sect.

Her mother was Sian Davies, one of Balakrishnan's followers, but she was never told the true nature of their relationship until after her mother died, it is alleged.

Beaten and cruelly treated by "Comrade Bala", she buried herself in her favourite books, Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings, and scribbled notes in her diaries detailing her struggles against the "Dark Tower" - code for Balakrishnan, the prosecutor said.

Rosina Cottage QC said: "She lived an isolated and lonely life and buried her head in books that she was allowed to read, in particular the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and Harry Potter.

"She also used to write diaries, poems and pages and pages of notes. In her notes she would occasionally write about her struggle against 'Dark Tower' as reference to the defendant and his wife."

These diaries show the "unbearable tedium of her life" as well as the oppression she was subjected to, the court heard.

Ms Cottage said: "Sometimes they show the violence, manipulation and humiliation from the defendant for minor perceived infringements, or for no apparent reason.

"Some also show joy at the smallest sign of affection, an unexpected gift and the very occasional trip to a museum or the cinema when she was older."

In one diary entry made when she was seven, she told how she had to be subject to "self criticism" to "struggle against one's negativity".

Each morning she would have to sing songs to Balakrishnan eulogising him, the court heard.

Born in the early 1980s, she was raised collectively by the commune.

No one outside the sect knew a child was in the house, and Balakrishnan's followers lived in constant fear that she might be discovered, jurors heard.

She does not remember being cuddled much as a child and never went to school, it was alleged.

The only time she left the house unaccompanied she tried to run away, it was claimed.

She was instructed by the women in the commune and "was taught that everything in England was bad", Ms Cottage said, while Balakrishnan destroyed the artwork she made and threw away a birthday card she made him.

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