Islamism and political instability in the Maldives worry India

Photo courtesy: Al-Jazeera 

Any development in the Maldives will have a direct impact on the geo-politics of the region. The social changes happening here have been a source of concern.

The Maldives, a tourist paradise, has of late become a den of Islamic radicalism. Extremist ideology of Wahabism has taken root in the island country with a population of mere 300,000. As many 200 youths from the country have left the country to join Islamic State to wage jihad against “infidels”.

The surge in Islamism has triggered fears in the minds of tourists who visit its 1,200 atolls each year. “There are serious concerns,” said one western diplomat in the region to The Guardian. “The risk is either of an attack locally or someone coming to Europe or even going on to the US.”

The government has introduced laws which are regressive and anti-women. Executions are back. A 15-year-old girl who’d been raped was found guilty of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes.

In this context, the latest developments cause serious concern. According to media reports, the police have arrested the country’s chief justice of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after the government declared a state of emergency.

The trouble began when President Abdulla Yameen refused to obey a court order to release political rivals. The opposition leaders said the government was indulging in a policy of “purge” to consolidate power in a few hands. The incident was condemned by many countries. The SC had sought India’s help in restoring democracy in the country.

 

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