Minister Mahloof: Yoga event obstructed for political reasons

Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof speaks at an event. (Photo/President's Office)

Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof, on Tuesday, has stated the celebratory events in conjunction with International Day of Yoga held publicly during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s administration was not obstructed – stressing it is being obstructed now for political reasons.

Minister Mahloof had remarked this in an interview to Raajje TV after a group of people stormed Galolhu National Stadium this morning, obstructing activities underway at the stadium to mark the International Day of Yoga.

In this regard, Minister Mahloof said that ‘Yoga Day’ has been celebrated in the Maldives since 2014 – with major public events being held to mark the day during Yameen’s administration as well. He added that there is no reason for something that was not ‘haram’ back then to become ‘haram’ now. He also stressed that yoga was not a religious activity.

“This is a very lowly act, which should not have taken place. It is absolutely unacceptable. This is not a religious activity. It is an exercise. This day has been celebrated before, including in President Yameen’s administration. Thus, there is no reason it should become haram now,” he had said.

Minister Mahloof said that ‘Yoga Day’ event was obstructed in the name of religion for political reasons. He also alleged the storming of the event was backed by senior officials from Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). He added that Jamiyyath Salaf has also proven today that they are not operating on good intentions anymore.

The Minister described today’s events as a lowly act which unfolded in front of senior officials from foreign countries.

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

“This as an act which would lead to major consequences, internationally. Many had been injured. When water bottles were thrown at participants, it had also hit foreign diplomats. This is very lowly, and shameful act,” he had said.

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 arrest over the case – which is being investigated as a serious matter. No further details were disclosed.