NEW DELHI: Hours after declaring Emergency in the Maldives, a defiant President Abdulla Yameen ordered security forces to seal Parliament and the Supreme Court, and arrest the Chief Justice and another judge. Hours later pliable SC judges revoked its order to free political prisoners, which was responsible for the current crisis.
Yameen’s predecessor, exiled former President Mohammed Nasheed put out a plaintive tweet seeking Indian military intervention. “On behalf of Maldivian people we humbly request: India to send envoy, backed by its military, to release judges & pol. detainees... We request a physical presence.” In another tweet, he urged Washington to impose a financial embargo on the Abdulla Yameen government.
Later in the day, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said: “We are disturbed by the declaration of a State of Emergency... following the refusal of the Government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court... and also by the suspension of Constitutional rights of the people of Maldives. The arrest of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and political figures are also reasons for concern. Government continues to carefully monitor the situation.”
China too keeps a close watch
“China has been closely following the situation... We hope various parties of the Maldives will properly resolve differences,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said
Breaking its silence over the Maldivian crisis, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Monday called for a dialogue to resolve the issue. “China has been closely following the situation in the Maldives. We hope various parties of the Maldives will properly resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation, resume the normal order as soon as possible and maintain national and social stability. We believe the Maldives government, political parties and people have the wisdom and capabilities to cope with the current situation independently,” it said.
“We have asked the Maldives to continue to take effective measures to faithfully guarantee the security of Chinese personnel, institutions and cooperative projects in the Maldives.”
India can no longer wait and watch, said Nasheed’s cousin and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Eva Abdulla. In a telephone conversation with The New Indian Express, Abdulla said the events of the past few days were “just a last desperate attempt by President Yameen to stay on in power. I think he will have to resign soon. I don’t think the security forces will continue to endlessly back him for long, given that he is defying both Parliament and the judiciary.”
Under Yameen, “we have seen the erosion of the political and security situation and also very rapid turning away from India, our traditional diplomatic and trade partner, and turning towards China. This will only increase the insecurity in the region. And that is something India should reflect on,” she said.
“India should do all that it can to help restore democracy and fundamental rights, and ensure that free and fair elections are held soon. Yameen is using the emergency powers to crack down on the judiciary and Parliament. That shows how desperate he really is. If he can’t control the election, he will not allow it.”