The three women were subjected to physical and mental torture while in captivity

Startling new information has emerged on the Lambeth modern slavery case – of three women who were kept in captivity by an older couple for the last 30 years.

It is now known that the couple, arrested for keeping the three women imprisoned, were part of a Maoist group that operated in the U.K. in the 1970s.

Aravind Balakrishnan, or Comrade Bala as he was reportedly known, was a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist), according to media reports. He split from the main party in the early 1970s and set up a faction of his own.

The couple is accused of subjecting three women– a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish woman, and a 30-year-old U.K.- born woman – to physical and mental torture, while they were under captivity. The women were rescued in a carefully planned joint operation by the Metropolitan Police and Freedom Charity, an organization that works with women is distress.

Comrade Bala’s organization appears to have been functioning in a very niche space, even in the 1970’s.

“A person by the name of Aravindan Balakrishnan is not known to anyone in the Indian working class movement, at least since 1974, when I became active in politics,” Harsev Bains, National Secretary of the Association of Indian Communists, told The Hindu.

“His must be one of the 16 or 17 splinter groups that call themselves Marxist-Leninist. They do a great deal of disservice and damage to the name of Marx and Lenin that they append to their organisations. That under the pretence of running a communist party, they were running a commune of slave women is abhorrent and something we cannot even contemplate. We condemn it even as we are delighted to announce today the election of Jogindar Kaur as the first woman General Secretary of the Indian Workers Association,” Mr. Bains said.

Mr. Bains recalls several Maoist splinter groups that broke away from the AIC after 1967, some of which set up communes in which they believed men and women must “bond.” Many of these went underground, he said.

“It was wrong then and is wrong now.”

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