MDP requests swift action against those who stormed yoga event

Group storms Galolhu National Stadium on Tuesday morning, obstructing activities underway at the stadium to mark the International Day of Yoga hold up flags containing verses from Shahada. (Twitter Photo/Shiuna)

Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has also condemned the storming of Galolhu National Stadium on Tuesday morning by a group of people, obstructing activities underway at the stadium to mark the International Day of Yoga.

In a statement released today, MDP said that the party condemns the storming of the yoga day event and attacking and threating its participants in strong words.

“This party does not believe there should be any space within our peaceful and democratic community for such lowly and hateful acts,” the statement read.

MDP also welcomed the government’s decision to conduct a serious investigation of this morning’s incident.

They also requested swift action against those responsible for the incident including the individuals who have been placed in custody so far.

MDP’s statement underscored that International Day of Yoga has been celebrated in the Maldives since 2014.

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.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih also condemned the act in a tweet. In this regard, he said that Maldives Police Service has launched an investigation into the incident which is being treated as a matter of serious concern.

He stressed that those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law.

Expressing concern over the incident – Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof said that the event was obstructed for political reasons.

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.

He also alleged the storming of the event was backed by senior officials from Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Jamiyyath Salaf were behind the violence which ensued. However, both deny the allegations against them.

Minister Mahloof said that ‘Yoga Day’ event was obstructed in the name of religion for political reasons.  He described today’s events as a lowly act which unfolded in front of senior officials from foreign countries.