Police stand guard at the property where three women were allegedly enslaved for 30 years. Photo: Reuters
The leader of the Marxist sect accused of holding three women in domestic slavery in London for more than 30 years controlled his followers by claiming he was Jesus Christ, a former member of the group says.
Aravindan Balakrishnan, 73, who was known as Comrade Bala, described himself as a "professional revolutionary" and said that China would invade "fascist" Britain.
In the Seventies he and his wife, Chanda, 67, attracted scores of adherents to the far-Left ideology of their Workers' Institute of Marxism Leninism Mao Zedong Thought, based in Brixton, south London.
Dudley Heslop, 59, who attended lectures by Mr Balakrishnan for a year before rejecting his teachings, said he ran his collective along "military" lines. Followers were cut off from the outside world, and required to give their wages to the group for the furtherance of its revolutionary aims.
Mr Balakrishnan, an Indian from Singapore with Maoist sympathies who came to Britain in the Sixties, was described as a leader with a hypnotic power to persuade intelligent young women to "abandon" their careers for him.
Mr Heslop, a community worker, told the London Evening Standard: "He was approachable and charismatic. His flaw was that he was 100 per cent revolutionary. If people said he was brainwashing others he said he was cleaning their brains. His followers were committed to becoming revolutionaries. He would say, 'I am Christ, follow me', and people would. He was never violent, he was too self-controlled."
The Telegraph, London