Male’, Maldives – Local news outlet “Dhiyares” revealed that their case submitted to the Maldivian High Court regarding the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO)’s decision to not reveal the number of Indian Military personnel present in the Maldives has been accepted by the court.
Dhiyares had previously requested the Ministry of Defence to declare the number of Indian Military personnel currently present in the Maldives, a request the Ministry refused. This led Dhiyares to ask for the information at the ICO, who reiterated the Defence Ministries claims that the data in question cannot be released.
Dhiyares submitted an appeal due to this decision to the High Court on November 26th. The news outlet reports that they are being represented by former civil court judge and deputy Prosecutor General Mariyam Nihayath from the law firm “Dhivehi Chambers”.
The Ministry of Defence stated that revealing the information Dhiyares had requested for would compromise national security, and thus they decided against divulging such sensitive intelligence. They further noted that doing this would also negatively impact Maldives-India relations.
While Information Commissioner’s Office defended this decision, this has caused unease among the public, especially with ongoing hate mongering efforts by the opposition coalition against India such as the Progressive Coalition’s ‘India Out’ campaign.
The coalition, comprising of former ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), and the People’s National Congress (PNC)- claims that the the incumbent administration has ‘become a slave to India’, and has condemned “Indian military presence in Maldivian soil”.