The Minister of Defence Mariya Didi on Thursday branded the opposition’s ‘India Out’ campaign as one of the most dangerous campaigns in the recent history of Maldives.
Speaking at the Parliament’s Committee on National Security's (214 Committee) investigative meeting regarding the effects of the opposition’s activities, the minister said that the campaign was a great threat to national security.
She went on to say that this campaign, spearheaded by the opposition leader, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has to be one of the most dangerous activities that happened in Maldives during recent history.
Minister Mariya added that she believes the campaign to be an obstacle to national security.
“This is a cunning strategy by President Yameen to silence the voice of the stations that - after broadcasting news that he did not like, were lit up and fined in large amounts, murdered journalists, and the alleged corruptions that took place in his tenure.”
Moreover, she noted that this endangers both Maldivians living abroad and nationals from other countries residing in Maldives.
Speaking in this regard, she said that this could lead to Maldives being globally isolated, interfere with regional security as well as become a barrier against all the work being done to ensure national security.
‘India Out’ campaign by the opposition has been expanded across the country, with supporters graffitiing walls of their houses with messages pertaining to the campaign. They claim that Indian military personnel being stationed in the Maldives is a threat to the country’s national security.
Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Parliamentary group has passed to submit the bill to the Parliament which aims to criminalize the ‘India Out’ campaign.
In addition to this, in January, Former President and Speaker of the Parliament has Mohamed Nasheed submitted the issue of threats posed to national security as well as to Maldivians living in India due to the opposition’s ‘India Out’ campaign to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (214 Committee) for investigation.
The Committee has been summoning various personnel including government officials from different ministries, in order to understand the effects of the campaign.
However, Yameen and the opposition maintain that passing a bill would not stop the campaign, adding that the activities under ‘India Out’ were in line with the right to freedom of expression, hence there was no way to stop it.
The government, MDP and other political parties which belong to the government coalition strongly condemn the campaign. In this regard, the government, on multiple instances, have stressed that such a campaign would disrupt the close ties maintained with a neighbouring country.