From Singapore Marxist to UK slave-driver

From Singapore Marxist to UK slave-driver
In this property in south London, three women were enslaved for 30 years in a "collective", said to have been controlled by Aravindan Balakrishnan and his partner, Chanda Pattni.

He was a Singaporean so obsessed with Marxist ideology that he left for England to set up a commune in the 1960s. In 1977, he was stripped of his Singapore citizenship for his close ties with Eurocommunists, MyPaper has learnt.

But his politics was so radical that even the Communist Party of England had to boot him out in 1974. He was convinced that China would invade and "liberate" Britain.

Almost 40 years on, Aravindan Balakrishnan, now 73, is in the headlines again. The man who spoke out against the slavery of workers is accused of enslaving three women for almost 30 years.

The women - a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish woman, and a 30-year-old Briton - were said to have been controlled by Balakrishnan and his partner, Chanda Pattni, 67, for decades.

The youngest woman is believed to have been born into Balakrishnan's "slave house" and spent her whole life there, the British media reported. She wrote to a neighbour that she felt like "a fly trapped in a spider's web".

The two older women are said to have joined Balakrishnan's commune almost 35 years back. In all those years, there was no escape.

Balakrishnan and his partner, who is of Tanzanian origin, once had around 25 followers. Most of these were students who arrived in England from Singapore, Malaysia and some developing countries, and felt lonely and disenfranchised. Balakrishnan took them under his wing in the guise of shared political ideology.

But when his thinking became too radical for even British leftists, he set out to create his own Marxist fiefdom. He set up The Workers' Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in London.

Some left-leaning students from Singapore who had studied in England confessed about how he had influenced them. Old clippings from The Straits Times show he was stripped of his citizenship.

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