Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan has been jailed in the UK for 23 years, after he kept his daughter captive for three decades and committed a string of brutal sexual assaults.

In 1974, Balakrishnan was expelled from the Communist Party of Britain, when he established the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong thought. A small, Maoist political party based in London, their manifesto revolved around the worship of former Chinese dictator Chairman Mao and the attempt to build a ‘red base’ in Brixton. They were said to have chosen Brixton because it was the ‘worst place in the world’ and it was from a local squat that they began publishing the South London Workers’ Bulletin encouraging the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to liberate the area. Balakrishnan, who called himself Comrade Bala, used a campaign of undue or destructive influence to convince his followers that he could ‘read their minds’. What’s more, he maintained their loyalty, warning of ‘Jackie’, a supernatural force who would cause natural disasters if he was ever disobeyed.

In reality, the group remained tiny, with limited external influence, however that didn’t stop the recruitment and indoctrination of several individuals, mostly from overseas, to whom the group offered companionship. Posing as a ‘political interest’ group, in reality this totalist cult was formed through psychological manipulation, with a leader who looked up to Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao and Saddam Hussein and who had self-proclaimed god-like powers.

Community worker Dudley Heslop, 59, who attended his lectures said: “Bala always came across as approachable and friendly. He would always stop you in the street and chat. He was handsome and slim and dressed neatly. He always wore a pressed shirt.”

Following his arrest in November 2013, news broke this morning of Balakrishnan’s sentencing to 23 years in prison for offences including child cruelty, false imprisonment and assault, after it emerged he had kept his daughter captive for 30 years from birth, as well as raping at least two of his followers. His daughter, Katy Morgan-Davies, who escaped with the support of charity the Palm Cove Society described her imprisonment as ‘humanising’, and spoke about being prevented from going to school and making friends, as well as being beaten by her father. Morgan-Davies also exposed Balakrishnan’s original plan to use the cult as a trial to learn how to control people, before executing megalomaniac plans to take over the world.

In the sentencing, the judge said “You decided to treat her as a project, not a person.You claimed to do it for her to protect her from the outside world, but you created a cruel environment.’

Two suspicious deaths are also linked with the cult.

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