Opposition pauses India-Out campaign

Opposition leader Yameen Abdul Gayyoom (C) in Naifaru | Photo: Maaniu

Malé, Maldives – Opposition leader, Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom reveals that they have halted the India-Out campaign.

In an interview he gave to a local media last night, Yameen told that they had stopped the campaign for now following the presidential decree by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to stop the India Out campaign after the opposition lead campaign to remove Indian military from the Maldives.

The presidential decree states that acts defined in the decree are considered a criminal offence under Article 124 (a)(3) and Article 615 (a)(6) of the Maldives Penal Code (Law No.: 9/2014).

President Yameen told that even though the opposition considers the decree to be against the law stating that a decree cannot inhibit or stop the freedom of expression granted to the citizens by the Maldives constitution, that any decree from the president would be enforced by police.

He further added that police have been using excessive and unwarranted use of power against those who participated in the ”India-Out” rallies and protests around Maldives including journalists and that he did not want the public to face such actions from police.

Yameen also added that the ”India-Out” campaign has not been stopped entirely and that the campaign would go on but he will not be traveling to any islands for the campaign specifically. He added that as the presidential candidate of the opposition he wanted to respect the presidential decree even if it was unlawful.

The India-Out campaign began in 2020, when protests led by the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC) erupted on the streets of the Maldivian capital, Malé, and in social media against the alleged presence of Indian military personnel on Maldivian soil. 

The campaign intensified and gained momentum after Former President Yameen took over the campaign after being freed from imprisonment on charges of corruption in November 2021. Yameen is regarded by many in the Maldives and India as a pro-China leader.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih gazetted the decree on April 21, 2022 to stop the India Out campaign after it was deemed a threat to national security by the National Security Council.

The decree titled Banning movements under various slogans to incite hatred against specific nations (Decree no.: 5/2022)stated that while the incumbent government strives to provide free speech and other democratic values to the highest extent, now some are taking undue advantage of this. 

The decree read that the “India Out” campaign is a deliberate attack against the civil peace of the Maldives and a threat to the historic relationship between India and the Maldives. 

The “India Out” campaign is a threat to the development of Maldives and regional peace. 

President Solih

The President further detailed that the Maldives is a signee of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963)under which the host nation must ensure the safety of foreign diplomatic missions and their staff. 

The Maldives is also a signee of International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination(1966) which prohibits discrimination based on ethnicity and race. 

With this, the President had called on relevant authorities to take immediate action to stop all such campaigns.