London: A 75-year-old Indian-origin Maoist leader in the UK charged with modern day slavery, sexual assault and imprisonment of his own daughter today denied the charges and said his women followers competed among themselves to make sexual advances on him.
Kerala-born Aravindan Balakrishnan, referred to as “Comrade Bala”, is accused of raping female followers and imprisoning his own daughter for 30 years after brainwashing them into believing he was an all-powerful and all-seeing leader.
But Balakrishnan today told the Southwark Crown Court that he was “the focus of competition” between “jealous” women who made sexual advances on him.
“There was no force involved, there was no deception involved,” he said, claiming his alleged rape victim, who cannot be named, “was extremely competitive” with another follower, Sian Williams, with whom he admitted having an affair in the commune.
Balakrishnan faces 16 charges, including rape, sexual assault on two women, child cruelty and wrongful imprisonment of his daughter, who was born in the secretive commune and could escape only when she was 30-years-old, having lived in almost total isolation for all of her life.
Earlier, he told a jury that his political activities were motivated by British colonial “cruelty” in Singapore where he was brought up.
Balakrishnan explained how he came to Britain from Singapore in 1963 to study at the London School of Economics and believed “the whole of Britain, the British parliament were basically misleading people” with what he described as “sugar-coated bullets of the bourgeoisie”.
He said the British state was “passing off fascism as democracy”.
He attended school and university in the British colony of Singapore, where he got a bachelor of arts degree and was politically active as a “revolutionary socialist”.
In 1976 when he set up the Brixton Workers’ Institute at 140 Acre Lane, he said: “Britain was attacking and destroying so many people not just in Malaya but in so many parts of the world.
“There were British colonies which were being treated in an extremely bad way and in Africa, under the name of democracy.”
Balakrishnan established the commune with seven other people, where there was a rota for cooking and cleaning but Bala did nothing domestically.
The comrades would only be allowed to leave the centre in pairs, for their safety, Balakrishnan claimed.
The trial continues and is expected to last a few more weeks.