Yoga Day violence: Arrestees start hunger strike

Sheikh Adam Nishan - those arrested in connection to yoga day violence have started a hunger strike. (Photo / Avas)

The individuals arrested and jailed at Dhoonidhoo jail in connection to the mob attack on the Yoga Day event held in Male’ City last June have commenced a hunger strike.

Sheikh Fazloon Mohamed who was arrested and later granted a conditional release revealed to Sun that those jailed have been deprived of many of their rights, hence, they have commenced a hunger strike starting Monday evening.

Some of the issues highlighted by Sheikh Fazloon include obstructing detained from meeting families, making it hard to consult doctors, not giving orders from remand hearings, and not fixing fans in the jail cells after multiple requests.

“Three weeks have passed without being allowed family meetings. Deprived of the right to appeal since the court order increasing the detention period has not been provided. [They have] even made it hard to consult doctors. The other thing is that [we] have been requesting to fix the fan in the jail cell since the very first day. To date, it’s not been done. It is extremely hot inside the cell.”

Some of the 21 individuals including Sheikh Fazloon have now been released.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Adam Nishan’s remand has been extended by 16 days and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) politician, former MP Mohamed Ismail’s detention increased by 30 more days.

In a statement released by Sheikh Nishan stated that he went to the area as those arranged ensured that it would be a peaceful gathering. However, not too long into the gathering, the youth got enraged and stormed into the stadium. He noted that after attempts to deescalate the situation failed, he had announced that the gathering was finished, and had left the area as well.

Sheikh Nishan’s lawyer Ahmed Siddiq said that the Sheikh was only trying to explain to people that yoga was haram, and had never tried to encourage unrest and violence.

However, the state claims there to be evidence against him.

The yoga event, organized by the Indian Cultural Center and the Sports Ministry, was held on the morning of June 21 and was attended by dozens of participants, foreign ambassadors including Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar, diplomats, and government officials.

A mob of angry protestors stormed the stadium, threatened and assaulted some of the participants, and destroyed property.

Police said in an earlier statement the case was being investigated as a serious matter.

On the day of the attack, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, via a tweet, said that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

A sub-committee of the cabinet was also formed to probe the matter.