>Born into the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought – a strange and secretive “collective” that sprang up in south London in the 1970s – Katy was a human experiment, a model citizen being prepared by her cult leader father for the moment he took over the world.
>While the popular TV comedy of the time, Citizen Smith (starring Robert Lindsay), made a group of inner-city revolutionaries seem amusing, there was nothing funny about the sinister way Comrade Bala – former London School of Economics student Aravindan Balakrishnan – controlled his women followers including Katy, who didn’t know he was her father until she finally escaped as an adult.
>What had started out as a political movement had turned into a dangerous personality cult based around worship of Balakrishnan, where women were beaten, abused and controlled. It was only in 2013, when I heard how three women had escaped that I realised just how close I had been to them. Balakrishnan was tried and given a 23-year sentence for rape, indecent assault, child cruelty and false imprisonment last year.
>It is hard to over-estimate the power Comrade Bala wielded over his band of followers. He claimed to have a mind-control machine called Jackie (harnessing the power of Jehovah, Allah and other gods) that would kill anyone who disobeyed him. Katy fully believed in Bala and Jackie’s power, yet she became desperate enough at one point to try to run away. She was so unused to talking to strangers that she could not explain her plight and was advised to return 'home’ by a well-meaning police officer. She then spent another eight years in captivity.
This was an actual thing and it seems quite familiar?