‘Yoga Day’ event stormed; six arrested

A screengrab from a video showing 'Yoga Day' event at Galolhu National Stadium on June 21, 2022, being stormed by a group of people.

A group of people stormed Galolhu National Stadium on Tuesday morning, obstructing activities underway at the stadium to mark the International Day of Yoga – celebrated annually on June 21.

The ‘Yoga Day’ event was hosted by Youth Ministry in collaboration with Indian Cultural Centre.

Ambassador of India to the Maldives Munu Mahawar, diplomats and senior officials from the Maldivian government alongside members of the general public were doing yoga at Galolhu National Stadium when the premise was stormed.

The group which stormed the stadium were carrying flags containing verses from the Shahada. They threatened, attacked the participants and vandalized the property.

When the group first stormed the stadium – only a few police officers were maintaining security on the premise. They had used pepper spray to subdue the group.

A Police Spokesperson told Sun that six individuals have been arrested over the case – which is being investigated as a serious matter. No further details were disclosed.

Religious organization ‘Ilmuveringe Gulhun’ comprising of religious scholars sent a letter to Islamic Ministry on Monday expressing their concerns regarding the celebration of International Yoga Day in the Maldives, as a practice closely associated with Hindu religion.

The letter read that yoga was a threat to Islam and the Maldivian constitution in the name of exercise. It was also requested from the Ministry that they stop the event.

‘Yoga Day’ event was initially supposed to be held at Rasfannu area. However, Male’ City Council decided to cancel the permit issued to hold the event at Rasfannu following complaints from the public.