EC: Political party found guilty of involvement in mob attack will be penalized

People with flags inside the PPM office on June 21, 2022. (Photo/MV Crisis)

Elections Commission (EC) states that any political party found to have been involved in the mob attack on the International Day of Yoga event held at the national football stadium on Tuesday morning would be penalized.

The event, organized by the Indian Cultural Center and the Sports Ministry, had begun at 06:30 am on Tuesday, and was attended by some 150 participants, including foreign diplomats.

A mob had stormed the stadium, threatening and assaulting participants, and destroying property.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, EC condemned the incident, which it said created fear among the participants of the event, foreign ambassadors, diplomats, and members of the general public alike.

“If the investigation by Maldives Police Service proves this incident involved any political party, that party will be taken action against under Article 49 of the Political Parties Act, with reference to Article 45 of the Act,” said EC.

The provision prescribes a fine of MVR 30,000-MVR 75,000 for misconduct.

The mob attack on the yoga event is under investigation by the Serious and Organized Department.

Police said in an earlier statement the case was being investigated as a serious matter, and that preliminary investigative findings established that some of the items used by the mob had come from the office of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

PPM’s Secretary-General Mohamed Tholal told Sun said the flags used by rioters were similar to the ones used by PPM in a recent rally, but that it yet remained unclear whether they were the same flags.

“It’s possible those were our flags. I am unable to say for sure yet whether those were our flags,” he said.

Tholal said the mob attack had not been organized by PPM and that the party did not condone violence.

In a press conference held in response to the incident, People’s National Congress (PNC)’s leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) said the mob attack could be claimed to have been staged by the government to cast blame on PNC’s coalition partner PPM. He also accused the police of involvement in the incident.