Opposition shares grievances with Indian Foreign Secretary

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla with Former President, Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik during the meeting held at the Indian High Commission | Photo: Indian High Commission

Male’, Maldives – Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has held a meeting the Maldivian opposition coalition members yesterday at the Indian High Commission in Maldives.

Former President, Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik along with Former Vice President Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and other senior officials of both Peoples Congress of Maldives (PNC) and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) attended the meeting with the Indian Foreign Secretary and other Indian officials.

The main discussion of the meeting was centered around the Former President and leader of the opposition, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Oppositions claims that Former President Yameen is being ill treated by the current administration. The opposition claimed that the the Former President Yameen’s trial was unlawful and that it had many conflicting legal issues.

Opposition had also claimed that the government is influencing the judiciary and that the Judicial Service Commission’s influence is also high on the judiciary.

The opposition met with the Indian Foreign Secretary after the President of People’s National Congress (PNC) party of Maldives, Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) had said that India wants the Former President of the Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom out of the political spotlight by keeping him in jail last month.

Also in October, the opposition released a statement stating that they were not planning on going to the Indian High Commission to ask to free the Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Former President Yameen was the 6th President of Maldives and was in the top office of the country from 2013 through to 2018. In December 2019, Yameen was sentenced to five years in prison, along with a fine of USD 5 million by the Criminal Court after being found guilty for money laundering, which concerns the MVR 3.4 billion from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) which was embezzled during the period when he was in office.

The oppositions meeting with Indian officials also come while the opposition have been questioning the sovereignty of Maldives after the issue of Indian military personnel staying in Maldives to operate the two helicopters came under public debate recently and an online campaign has started calling to remove all such personnel has been going on under the hashtag “IndiaOut”.

The opposition has been accusing the current government of allowing India to build their military bases around the country as well. The main controversy began as the number of Indian pilots and crew who are stationed in Maldives to operate the two helicopters which the Indian government had donated to MNDF grew larger.