With no signs of resolution to the situation arising out of former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed taking refuge in the Indian mission for the sixth day, India and Maldives on Monday engaged in a war of words with the former denying that its High Commission was being used for holding political meetings to incite violence in Male.
A day after Indian High Commissioner D.M. Mulay was summoned and issued a strong protest note on Mr. Nasheed’s stay in the mission, India said, “It is reiterated that no political meetings and activities have been allowed in the mission premises during the presence of former President”.
“Only limited visitors are allowed to meet the former President on strict need basis,” the Indian High Commission in Male added.
According to Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed’s office, the note was issued to the High Commissioner to protest “harbouring a fugitive in the embassy premise from where Nasheed is inciting and calling for unrest and violence in the streets”.
Significantly, this is the first time that a High Commissioner has been summoned by the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, local media reports said.
Mr. Nasheed, leader of Maldivian Democratic Party, took refuge in the Indian High Commission on February 13 to evade arrest in a case concerning the detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court during his Presidency in January 2012.
Meanwhile, official sources said the situation is not showing any signs of being resolved even after couple of rounds of telephonic conversations between the Foreign Ministers of India and Maldives apart from the official-level parleys and background diplomatic discussions.
In another development, the head of the Elections Commission (EC) Fuad Thaufeeq said it was deeply concerning to see the Presidential candidate of the largest political party seeking refuge from a diplomatic office.
Mr. Thaufeeq said Mr. Nasheed was a former President and ought to receive the privileges entitled to a former President as stipulated in the law and stressed that he should get a fair trial and should not be politically motivated.
“Firstly, Nasheed is a former President, secondly he a presidential candidate of a political party. Thirdly, he represents the largest political party in the country. Each of these factors carries significant weight,” Mr. Thaufeeq said.
He said the Elections Commission would do everything it could to find a solution for all the parties involved, including the former president.
The Elections Commission chief warned that if Mr. Nasheed’s trial proved to be a tool to bar him from contesting the scheduled presidential elections, it would cast doubt over the integrity of the election.