World Bulletin / News Desk
As the British police continue to investigate the case of three women who were rescued from a residence in south London after spending three decades in ‘slavery’, more and more details are unfolding regarding the secretive Maoist cult they are believed to belong to.
Maoists are a far-left political sect which combines the Marxist-Leninist communist teachings and the theories of leftist Chinese political leader Mao Zedong.
Maoists were one of many leftist movements in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s that became increasingly disheartened by the moderate-socialist approach of then Prime Minister Harold Wilson. They were often considered to be too extreme even by other leftist organizations.
In 1978 a police raid targeted the Maoists, who by that point had started losing members. The leader of the British Maoists, Indian national Aravindan Balakrishnan, otherwise known as Comrade Bala, drove the movement underground to escape persecution.
By the 1980s, the group had all but vanished. It is believed that it is at this point that two of the women who were rescued from the south London apartment, a 57-year-old Irishwoman believed to be Josephine Herivel, and a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, entered into the ‘collective’ with Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chandra.
It is not clear exactly how many others were originally involved in the ‘collective’, but in 1996 police were called to house in Brixton, believed to be used as a Maoist headquarters, after 44-year-old Sian Davies fell from a bathroom window and died.
At that time Sian’s family were looking for her, and were able to get through to the Maoist headquarters via telephone. However, her family was told that she was in India when she was in fact in hospital.
When Sian Davies died, it was not believed that she had any children, but a birth certificate uncovered belonging to a 30-year-old British woman, known as ‘Rose’, who was also rescued from the ‘collective’, suggested that she was Sian Davies’s daughter.
The family of Sian Davies suspect foul play in her death, as the window from which she fell had a sink in front of it, making accidental falling almost impossible. It is also believed that she was thinking of leaving the group at the time.
Dudley Heslop, who used to attend Maoist lectures given by Aravindan Balakrishnan before 40 years ago when he was the head of the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, told the Independent that he used to claim to be Jesus Christ and would persuade followers to donate thousands of pounds to the cause.
Aravindan Balakrishnan, who is now 73, and his wife Chandra, 67, are being investigated by police for forced labor and slavery.Last Mod: 30 Kasım 2013, 14:27