Opposition to Yoga Day in Maldives - Exclusive

In the Maldives, the 'India Out' campaign has taken on a new look after protesters disrupted a Yoga Day celebration.

Photo (https://unsplash.com/photos/Vz0RbclzG_w)

In what could be called a ‘diplomatic incident’ involving the host government, suspected Islamic rioters attacked an ‘International Yoga Day’ event on June 21 in Male, the capital of the Maldives. Although the opposition is keen to deny any involvement in the PPM-PNC alliance, the actual police investigation has revealed that the material carried by the rioters came to their office, identified by former President Abdullah Yameen's 'India Out' campaign.

The event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Nation in association with the Indian Center of Culture affiliated to the Indian High Commission, a proposal that was easily accepted by New Delhi by a large number of 170 members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). ) In 2015.

The yoga program resumed after police removed rioters carrying flags with Arabic inscriptions from Islamic martyrs, testifying that "there is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God."

The event on Tuesday was attended by Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahavar, Mal рдоा-based UN diplomats and officials of the host government along with the general public. According to media reports, the yoga program resumed after police removed rioters carrying flags with Arabic inscriptions from Islamic Shahada, testifying that "there is no god but God and Muhammad is the only messenger of God." The perpetrators also chanted, yoga is from Hinduism and is therefore against Islamic / anti-Islamic.

Serious anxiety

President Ibrahim Solih did not waste time expressing ‘serious concern’ about the disruption and tweeted that those involved would be ‘brought to justice’. The cabinet convened a seven-member cabinet to probe the incident. The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) also issued a statement calling for "immediate action".

However, the allies of the MDP’s three ruling alliances, namely, the Jumhuri Party (JP), the religion-centric Adhalath Party (AP) and the Maumoon Reform Movement (MRM), were clear in their silence. The Maldivian National Party (MNP), the infant of former defense minister Colonel Mohammed Nazim, complained in a statement that the event was organized "without concern for public safety".

Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof, co-host, said the event was "disrupted for political reasons". He asked, 'How did something that was not haram, or' forbidden ', become one now?' The Islamic Ministry, which is under the auspices of the Adhalat party, appealed to the people not to fall prey to the innocent actions of politicians. Benefit under the guise of defending Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

Coincidentally, the religious association of scholars, ‘Ilmuvering Gulhun’, on Monday sent a letter to the Islamic Ministry expressing ‘concern’ over the celebration of Yoga Day, claiming that the practice was closely linked to Hinduism - and therefore a threat to Islam. The constitution, which allowed only Sunni Islam in the archipelago-nation. However, there is no explanation as to why protests should take place in the Maldives, which is still a 'moderate Islamic nation', as Orthodox Islamic states have not only voted for Yoga Day in the UN General Assembly but have also given permission / hosting. Annual event without events. In addition, both Ilmuvering Gulhun and another radical group, Jamiat-e-Salaf, have denied involvement in Tuesday's incident.

The Islamic Ministry, under the auspices of the Adhalat Party, appealed to the people, "Do not fall prey to inhumane acts for political gain in the name of defending Islam and the Prophet Muhammad."

Still, the Independent Election Commission is threatening to penalize political parties found guilty in the case, which has made some of them defensive - or so it seems. Opposition PNC leader Abdul Rahim Abdullah ‘Adhure’ condemned the attack at a press conference and claimed that the government and police had carried out the attack to blame their PPM coalition partner. PPM general secretary Mohammad Tholal, however, acknowledged that the rioters' flags were similar to those used by the party at a recent rally and would look into the matter. It is another matter that the yoga program had to be shifted to Galolhu National Stadium at the last minute as the PPM-controlled male municipal council withdrew its permission for the use of another venue, Rasfannu, following public complaints.

Police initially announced the arrest of six people involved in Tuesday's incidents. They have since arrested four people, including former PPM MP Mohammed Ismail and religious scholar al-Sheikh Fazlun bin Mohammed. All of them were produced in court and beaten. While investigating the yoga incident from several angles, the police have also launched an investigation into the death threats sent to religious scholar Sheikh Ahmed Sameer on Facebook, after he expressed his opposition to yoga.

Police have launched an internal review to assess their own response, despite allegations by social media users of another major ‘intelligence failure’ following the May 6 bombing of Parliament Speaker and former President Mohammed Nasheed last year. The country's police chief, Commissioner Mohammad Hameed, tweeted "worries" about policing in yoga programs and promised to "improve operations".

Not 'anti-India', but

Coincidentally, the Yoga Day scandal erupted a day after President Solih ordered the 241st National Security Committee of Parliament to direct the concerned authorities to "amend the law" to stop the Yamin camp's "India Out" campaign. Same in April. Referring to the Home Ministry report, the committee said that the social media post on the 'India Out' campaign had also called for violence. A Home Ministry report said such threats could have "adverse effects" on Maldivians living in India and traveling there for medical treatment. Similarly, the Ministry of External Affairs, in its report to the 241 Committee, said that the "India Out" campaign could have an "adverse effect" on the country's internal stability and security.

The Attorney-General's Office has sent a draft of the bill to the President's Office, proposing amendments to the penal code to make acts that harm the country's 'diplomatic interests' a separate crime. The President's order banning campaigns like 'India Out' did not go into much detail on the issue, perhaps hoping that the trick would be done alone. Even after the President's order, the question remains as to whether the protesters put the 'India Out' legend on their T-shirts as Yameen and his party do in public.

Police had seized a long banner hanging from the roof of Yamin's house as well as a PPM party office misrepresenting the Indian national flag, as if claiming some resistance but at the same time hurting Indian sentiments.

This list includes 'damaging or altering the national flag or national emblem of a foreign country, calling for the destruction or annihilation of a foreign entity, harassing or harming a foreigner on the basis of their nationality, or demanding the release of a foreigner' . Maldives based on their nationality. It may be recalled that the police had seized a long banner hanging from the roof of Yamin's house as well as a PPM party office misrepresenting the Indian national flag, as if claiming some immunity but at the same time, hurting Indian sentiments.

At public events last week, Yameen appeared to have shifted gears to claim he was ‘not anti-India but pro-Maldives’ and opposed the presence of Indian military personnel in the country. He also said in a media interview that the Indian government had not withdrawn its military personnel even at the request of his government. In a widespread allegation, he claimed that Hindutva organizations were conducting public relations campaigns in the UK, Canada, Australia and especially the US to shed light on 'inhumane acts' and said - without evidence of 'Muslim genocide'. It was possible in India.

Coincidentally, the current discourses could have distracted the ruling MDP, which seems to be heading for a split at every turn. The latest in a series is the MDP parliamentary group's decision to table a resolution in the House to remove Prosecutor-General Hussain Shamim from President Nasheed's party group by a majority. This is a big step forward for President Solih to replace / displace Nasheed's supporters from key positions in the government and the party.

Eighteen of the 65 MDP MPs in the 87-member parliament voted in favor of Nasheed Camp's plan to insult the party's three-line whip to vote for PG Shahim. Tim Solih has since claimed that some of them have spoken out of the plan. Following the trial court's decision in one of the two pending money-laundering cases against Yamin, both sides are pushing for the party's congress in September-August, which could disqualify him from running in next year's presidential election.

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