Police, Youth Ministry and Islamic Ministry clash over Yoga Day violence

Protestors attack participants of Yoga Day event | Photo: Addulive

Malé, Maldives – The Maldives Police Service, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment and Ministry of Islamic Affairs have released conflicting statements over the Yoga Day violence.

Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof on Tuesday stated that full information regarding events has always been provided to the police at a separate security briefing prior to all the events hosted by the Youth Ministry.

Minister Mahloof stated this while being questioned at the Maldives Parliament after the Police on Monday stated that they were unaware that ambassadors were present at the event.

While six foreign ambassadors to the Maldives attended the event hosted jointly by the Youth Ministry and Indian Cultural Center, reports suggest that the Ministry did not request security and instead police security was arranged by the Cultural Center.

Meanwhile local media had reported an alleged letter by the Islamic Ministry addressed to the police informing that yoga goes against the Islamic Principles.

Youth Ministry stated that the ministry did not receive any communication from the Islamic Ministry against yoga or hosting the event.

Islamic Ministry on Monday released a statement stating that the ministry has not made a decision regarding the Islamic ruling on yoga. The Ministry further added that the alleged letter was released against the ruling of “fatwa majlis” the union of scholars who pass judgement on contradictory issues.

Protestors stormed the international Yoga Day event held on 21 June 2022 jointly by the Ministry of Youth and Indian High Commission’s Cultural Centre at the National Stadium, swinging flags printed with Islamic Shahada on a white canvass and shouting “Allah Akbar”. In a video widely circulated from the event, participants are seen fleeing from the scene while angry protestors destroyed property, and threatened and harmed participants.