NATIONAL

India watching situation

NEW DELHI, AUG. 14. India said today that it was watching with concern the evolving situation in the Maldives, where a state of emergency was imposed by the President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, after pro-democracy protests on Friday.

"We are watching the situation carefully since we have close relations with the Maldives," the External Affairs Ministry spokesman said in response to the latest developments in the South Asian nation of islands.

The Amnesty International has said that over a dozen peaceful demonstrators had been taken into custody by the Maldivian authorities.

It called on the Maldivian Government to ensure their safety and security, after emerging "reports" of security forces beating up those in detention.

"Dr. Mohamed Monawar, the former Attorney-General of the Maldives and an Opposition party leader, and Muad Mohamed Zaki, the son of the political prisoner, Mohamed Zaki, have both been beaten while in custody today," the group claimed.

"Amnesty International is deeply concerned at reports of large numbers of injured people needing hospital treatment after the police used sticks and batons to attack them during the demonstrations. The organisation is urging the Government to adhere to international human rights standards.

The Government declared a state of emergency today [Friday] as mass demonstrations took place over the last week against the slow pace of reform and the continued detention of political prisoners," the statement added.

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