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India’s World – Democratic Crisis in Maldives

Summary:

The arrest of opposition leader and the former President has triggered a fresh crisis in the Maldives. Opposition parties together have started a movement called save the Constitution movement. The former president, Nasheed, has been arrested on the charge of terrorism for illegally ordering the detention of a Judge. If convicted, the former President has to be in Jail for up to 15 years putting pate to all his political ambitions. The capital city Male has been witnessing many night marches by the supporters of the former President. The Government has failed to control the situation politically.

Maldives had previously denied India’s claim that it held discussions with Indian officials regarding former President, who sought refuge at the Indian High Commission here to evade arrest, saying it cannot interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

In 2008, Nasheed, became the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives, defeating Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had been dictator for 30 years. In January 2012, he ordered the detention of Criminal Court judge Abdulla Mohamed for allegedly obstructing the police, ordering illegal probes, and accepting bribes to release certain criminals. The arrest triggered protests, following which, in February 2012, Nasheed resigned. He claimed he was forced to step down after soldiers and police mutinied, but his successor, Mohamed Waheed, said Nasheed had left on his own.

A political crisis in the Maldives will deepen unless parties hold emergency talks. The Maldives is a major tourist attraction, but political unrest has dented its image as a peaceful island paradise in recent years. A large number of Indian population resides in Maldives. Indians are the second largest expatriate community in the Maldives with approximate strength of around 26,000. Indian expatriate community consists of workers as well as professionals like doctors, teachers, accountants, managers, engineers, nurses and technicians etc. Hence, immediate intervention of the Indian government is being sought.