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Indian-origin 'slave owner' and wife named by British media

November 25, 2013 20:46 IST

An elderly Indian-origin man and his wife, both former Maoist activists who were arrested for allegedly holding three women as slaves here for 30 years, have been named by the British media.

The alleged suspects have been named as 73-year-old Aravindan Balakrishnan and his 67-year-old wife Chanda. According to Marxist archives they were leading figures at the Mao Zedong Memorial Centre based in Acre Lane, Brixton, south London, in the 1970s, a BBC report said.

The centre was raided by police and five people, including the pair, were held. Three women were rescued from their home in Brixton a month earlier.

The couple has been linked to 13 addresses across London, the Metropolitan police has confirmed. The force, however, would not confirm or deny their names, the report said.

The police carried out house-to-house inquiries in and around Peckford Place, Brixton, where the women were rescued, over the weekend, it said.

Officers said the women had suffered years of "physical and mental abuse". They lived together as a "collective" after two of the women met the man through a "shared political ideology".

The three alleged victims, a 30-year-old Briton, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old Malaysian, are now in the care of a non-governmental organisation following their rescue last month, the report said.

The couple was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of being involved in forced labour and slavery. They have also been arrested for immigration offences. They have been released on bail until January.

The police said they were of Indian and Tanzanian origin and came to the United Kingdom in the 1960s. They were previously arrested in the 1970s, but it is not known if they were charged.

Thirty-seven officers from the Metropolitan police' human trafficking unit are working on the case.

H S Rao in London
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