18 people charged with terrorism under India’s orders: Opposition

Protestors attack participants of Yoga Day event | Photo: Addulive

Malé, Maldives – Opposition coalition of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) has accused the government of having been pressured by India to charge 18 people with terrorism over the violence that broke out on International Yoga Day.

In a statement released by the opposition coalition following the charges raised by Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) against a total of 18 individuals, including former MP Mohamed Ismail, Sheikh Fazloon Mohamed and Sheikh Adam Nishan, the opposition accused that the events which took place during International Yoga Day event held on 21 June in Galolhu National Stadium was highly coordinated and planned by the government.

Opposition also told that there are numerous reasons to believe that the violence which took place on June 21 was facilitated by the Maldivian government under the instruction of the Indian government to allow Indian military to continue their presence in Maldives.

The oppositions statement also stated that the charges being raised against the 18 individuals while Foreign Secretary of India Vinay Mohan Kwatra was in Maldives for an official trip where an additional USD 100 million Line of Credit to complete developmental projects run by India was singed, not a coincidence and that the government was trying their best to satisfy the demands of India and keep India happy.

The statement also demanded to take back the terrorism charges against the 18 individuals.

Protestors stormed the international Yoga Day event held on June 21, 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.

For inciting the violence that broke out during the Yoga Day event which was attended by high-profile figures including top government figures, ambassadors and UN representatives, former MP Mohamed Ismail is being charged with participating in an act of terrorism. This charges is raised against six other individuals who also took part in the act with him.

While 15 individuals also face charges of obstructing justice, one was charged with inciting violence using a weapon, while another three were charged with attempting to incite violence using a weapon.

Individuals charged with participating in an act of terrorism:

  • Former MP Mohamed Ismail
  • Abdullah Niyaz, G. Phoenix
  • Ali Mohamed, Ali Aabaadh/Th. Thimarafushi
  • Ibrahim Zihan, Milano/N. Velidhoo
  • Mohamed Shan, Annaarumaage/L. Mundoo
  • Hussain Ali, Baabooge/Hdh. Kulhudhuffushi
  • Ahmed Ali, M. Falhumatheege

Individuals charged with carrying out an act of terrorism:

  • Mohamed Zilian, MA. Kanuhuraa
  • Abdullah Rifaau, Narugisvilla/Th. Thimarafushi
  • Abubakur Faariu, Carnationmaage/N. Miladhoo
  • Ahmed Aksam, Alamaage/R. Kandholhudhoo
  • Ahmed Nasooh, Asrafeevilla/GA. Maamendhoo
  • Hassan Shifaz, M. Kudhehige
  • Shabim Adam, Aabaadheegulshan/F. Dharanboodhoo

Although a total of 21 individuals were arrested over the incident, almost everyone has been released from custody. In addition to the charges, Sheikhs Fazloon and Nishan have also had their preaching licenses suspended over the attack.