Maldivian police stand guard on a main street during a protest by opposition supporters against the government’s delay in releasing their jailed leaders, on 5 February.Photo: Reuters
Maldivian police stand guard on a main street during a protest by opposition supporters against the government’s delay in releasing their jailed leaders, on 5 February.Photo: Reuters

Nasheed seeks India’s help as political crisis in Maldives deepens

India said it was readying emergency plans that include evacuation of its nationals from Maldives and issued a statement voicing concern over the state of emergency declared by President Abdulla Yameen

New Delhi: India is readying contingency plans as the political crisis in the Maldives deepened with ex-president Mohamed Nasheed on Tuesday calling on New Delhi to send an envoy backed by its military to free those freshly detained by President Abdulla Yameen after the imposition of a state of emergency in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Besides readying emergency plans that include evacuation of its nationals, India also issued a statement voicing concern over the state of emergency declared by Yameen. Some 30,000 Indian nationals are thought to live and work in the Maldives.

“We are disturbed by the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives following the refusal of the government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on 1 February, and also by the suspension of constitutional rights of the people of Maldives," an Indian statement said.

“The arrest of the Supreme Court chief justice and political figures are also reasons for concern. The government continues to carefully monitor the situation," the statement said.

The situation in the Maldives was being “closely monitored" by senior officials, two people familiar with the developments said. Both separately added that the Indian government was drawing up “emergency plans".

The Maldives plunged into political chaos after the Supreme Court ordered the release of nine opposition MPs, including Nasheed, after overturning charges of terrorism brought against them.

The Yameen government has accused the Supreme Court of overstepping its mandate and refused to comply with its orders. According to Reuters, the Yameen government has arrested several people including Supreme Court judges and former president Mohammed Gayoom, half-brother of the president.

“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," Nasheed, currently in Colombo, said in a Twitter post.

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