'Maldives cops won't enter Indian mission'
Confirming former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed's presence at the Indian High Commission, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India believed that it was "necessary that the Presidential nominees of recognised political parties be free to participate in the elections without any hindrance".
“Prevention of participation by political leaders in the contest would call into question the integrity of the electoral process, thereby perpetuating the current political instability in Maldives. This is not in the interest of Maldives or the region,” he asserted, adding that no stakeholder in the Indian Ocean nation should take any action that will further 'vitiate the political atmosphere'.
Since Tuesday, rumours were doing rounds that Nasheed would be arrested and brought before the court at 4pm on Wednesday, which led to MDP supporters camping outside his residence the whole night.
On his arrival at the high commission, Nasheed met with the acting high commissioner Ram Chander, as Indian envoy D M Mulay was not in the embassy at the time. “After talks, he (Nasheed) told the Indian official that he wanted refuge,” MDP leader Ibrahim Solih told Express from inside the high commission compound.
Recounting the events, Solih noted that Mulay reached the high commission directly from the airport at about 2pm, after which he held extensive discussions with Nasheed and senior MDP members. “The high commissioner told us that he (Nasheed) can stay there as long as he wants,” said Solih.While high commission officials apprised New Delhi of the situation, Maldivian police in full riot gear, waited outside the commission compound. A huge crowd of Nasheed supporters shouted slogans sporadically.
At 3.36 pm, Nasheed confirmed through his Twitter account that he had sought refuge at the Indian embassy. “Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives,” he tweeted.
India had, however, not informed the Maldivian authorities till later in the evening, with Presidential spokesperson Masood Imad stating that there had been “no official communication” from the high commission till the evening.
"It is wait and watch… Police is waiting for him to come out of the high commission. The police will certainly not enter the high commission,” Imad told Express. Squarely blaming India for Wednesday’s developments, Maldivian Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed asked his compatriots to be “aware of the attempts made by other countries to interfere in our internal affairs”.
“What’s happening now gives us an indication of the extent and level of interest some countries are prepared to take in our internal matters. I would strongly urge everyone to let our institutions deal with the challenges, allow Maldives to uphold rule of law,” he tweeted.
The Maldivian foreign ministry said it will fulfill all obligations with regard to “diplomatic immunities and privileges granted to resident diplomatic missions.” But, it added, “that all parties concerned, including the High Commission of India, will respect the laws of the Maldives and judicial independence as prescribed in the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, sources said India was in talks with the Maldivian government to resolve the matter, with an emergency cabinet meeting underway in Male late on Wednesday night.