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Indo-Chinese tensions and the ‘mutiny’ causing regime change in Maldives

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by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Hello Friends

There has been a regime change in the Paradisian archipelago of Maldives. Recent events leading to such a change in the Maldives Islands have evoked great interest and concern in the corridors of power in Colombo.

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa meeting at 17th SAARC Summit at Addu in Maldives-Photo courtesy: www.seventeenthsaarcsummit.mv

Sri Lanka is the closest neighbour to the Maldives and there existed a strong personal equation between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Mohammed Nasheed.

Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic party who earned worldwide admiration and respect for the valiant struggle he spearheaded to usher in democracy to the Archipelago has been compelled to resign.His vice-president Dr.Waheed Hassan Manik has succeeded him. It remains to be seen as to whether Dr.Manik will continue as president till scheduled polls take place in 20 months or further upheavals are to be expected.

Nasheed’s downfall was a result of an unholy alliance among opposition parties, Islamic radicals, Judiciary and sections of the Police and Army. It was a mutiny amounting to a coup d’etat that brought about this change. Although Nasheed could have resisted by declaring an emergency and using force to remain in power in the face of this mutiny he chose not to do so and instead stepped down thus enabling his deputy to replace him peacefully.

Nasheed is a politician with strong democratic convictions and pious intentions.He led a long ,courageous struggle to bring down the near autocratic 30 year rule of his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom through democratic means.In the process he underwent exile and imprisonment.

His decline and fall was caused by a series of missteps in governance where he tried to do too much too soon and alienated diverse elements in the country. These sections united or converged temporarily and the result is the enforced regime change.

The flashpoint was Nasheed’s attempt to cleanse and re-structure the Judiciary. His effort to demolish the legacy of Abdul Gayoon was depicted as a bid to pack the courts with his cronies.

The lesson to be drawn from this in a South Asian contexts is that even a popular democratically elected leader could be toppled if he estranged influential sections of society. The possibility of opposition politicians, extremists, sections of the Police, Armed forces.Judiciary and Bureaucracy joining forces to bring about regime change is an ever present danger. This insecurity can be further aggravated if external agencies engage in covert action to encourage regime change.

In a bid to enlighten readers about the events in Maldives that led to the fall of Nasheed I am reproducing four incisive pieces posted on the South Asia Analysis Group portal.

Two articles are by India ’s former Additional secretary to the Cabinet Mr.B.Raman who oversaw certain functions of India ’s espionage agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) during his term of office.

The other two articles are by Dr.S. Chandrasekharan who served in the RAW for many years and is now retired. Dr.Chandrasekharan known as “Chandra” was the RAW official handling the Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups in the eighties and nineties of the last century.

It is believed that “Chandra” played an important role in 1988 when a motley crew of armed militants from the Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) tried to “invade” the Maldives in a ship and topple Abdul Gayoom. Quick action by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi saw Indian security forces moving in fast and apprehending the PLOTE squad.

The crucial difference between then and now is that There was an external armed intrusion into the country in support of a coup and the Maldivian President had sought India’s help to quell the attempted coup against then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Gayoom telephoned Minister Rajiv Gandhi and sought help. India promptly mounted “Operation Sandhya” on the night of 3 November 1988, when Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) airlifted a battalion of the Parachute Regiment from the Agra Air Force Station and flew them nonstop over 2,000km, or 1,240 miles, to airdrop them over the Male International Airpport on Hulhule Island.

The Indian Army paratroopers who landed in less than 12 hours after Gayoom telephoned Gandhi squashed the attempt by a group of Maldivians led by Abdullah Luthufi, and assisted by over 80 militants of the PLOTE functioning as mercenaries.Indian paratroopers immediately secured the airfield and restored control of the capital to Gayoom’s government within hours of landing there.

The PLOTE fiasco in Maldives paved the way for greater cooperation between India and Maldives. PLOTE leader Umamaheswaran who began alleging in private that he would expose the powerful country in the region who encouraged him to get involved in the Maldives was himself killed in Colombo in 1989 by members of his own group. That ended the potential threat of exposure.

One aspect of Nasheed’s rule in the Maldives was the improvement and enhancement of cordial relations with countries such as China , Pakistan and Sri Lanka . Nasheed however did not confront or irritate New Delhi and was careful in continuing friendly relations with India.

Analysts supportive of the “string of pearls” theory in Indo-China relations saw a “cold war” being fought over Maldives by the Asian giants. The shimmering tension was manifested to some extent during the SAARC summit in the Maldives.

In an analytical piece filed for Reuters in November 2011 ,C.Bryson Hull observed thus-

Stretched across 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq m) of the Indian Ocean southwest of India, the Sunni Muslim nation of 1,192 islands finds itself sandwiched between the two Asian rivals, and both flexed their muscles at a meeting of South Asian nations hosted by the Maldives last week.

China preceded the heads-of-state meeting of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) by opening its first embassy in the Maldives, a ceremony attended by Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun.

Two Maldivian officials said China had hurriedly rented a space to open the embassy in time for the summit, while the actual embassy is being built. Officials with the Chinese delegation declined repeated requests by Reuters for comment.

“The bureaucrat in me says the timing is right. You want to open something like that when there is a big official around. But opening it right before SAARC is a way to tweak India,” an Asian diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

China joins India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh as the only countries with full embassies in the Maldives and, at the SAARC meeting, Beijing pushed to have its observer status raised to dialogue partner, an elevated standing it has with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“There was no hurry or further discussion to make China a dialogue partner,” Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed told reporters after the meeting.

India’s response to China’s diplomatic display included a show of military force and political largesse.

Navy frigates patrolled off the Gan atoll, where the summit was held, to protect VIP visitors including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a one-day state visit to the capital island, Male.

“This is our extended neighborhood. We wish to work with the Maldives and other like-minded countries to ensure peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region,” Singh told the Maldivian parliament.

India extended a $100 million credit line, inked pacts on maritime and counterterrorism cooperation, and both nations agreed “their respective territories would not be allowed for any activity inimical to the other and by any quarter.”

New Delhi has long been concerned by any moves China makes to boost its presence in neighboring countries, and is worried about the so-called “string of pearls” ambition to expand Chinese maritime influence in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

“China has made a lot of surge in the Indian Ocean rim countries. Maldives is of particular interest because it can help China gain access to the main regional forum, SAARC,” Bhaskar Roy, a strategic affairs expert at the Chennai Center for China Studies, said.

China made its present felt throughout the SAARC summit. The post-summit giveaway bag included porcelain pens and diaries from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry detailing “Five Years of China-SAARC Cooperation.” A box for a new 40-inch TV in the media center bore a sticker: “China Aid.”

While India may have the edge in terms of political clout and military cooperation, China has a softer but no less powerful lever over the Maldives’ $1.5 billion economy.

It is the top provider of visitors to the tourism industry, which earns 28 percent of gross domestic product and 90 percent of foreign exchange, with stays costing up to $1,000 a night at paradise resorts on desert islands of pure-white beaches, palm trees and incomparably hued waters.

Chinese tourist arrivals doubled year-on-year in 2010, according to the Maldives Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. By September, this year’s 146,668 visitors from China were well past 2010′s total of 118,961.

“The Chinese can buy their way into this country. All they have to do is put out a travel advisory saying too many people are drowning and that’s it, they will turn those tourists off like a tap,” a senior Maldivian official said on condition of anonymity.

The China surge has been a godsend for tourism operators who traditionally rely on Europe and other Western countries for the bulk of visitors, but have seen those numbers fall with the downturn in developed-world economies and European debt crisis.

The Maldivian government wants “to maintain an appropriate balance between Maldives and India and other investors and not have any one country dominate them and exercise inordinate influence over them,” a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The United States remains concerned, as does India, about China’s plans in the Indian Ocean, the official said.

“I think it is important to try to continue to engage them, to stress opportunities for working together, and to stress the importance of them being as transparent as possible about what their economic and military intentions are,” the official said.

The president, Nasheed, was unequivocal when asked how the Maldives would avoid becoming a pawn between Asia’s giant rivals.

“We’ve made it very clear that India is our best friend and neighbor and we will continue along those lines,” he told reporters, prompting immediate questions from journalists present from China’s state media.

“There won’t be any issue because of the Maldives’ friendship with any other country,” Nasheed said, smiling.”

Ousted Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed greets his supporters as he arrives for the Maldivian Democratic Party’s meeting in Male February 8, 2012. The ousted president of the Maldives, credited with bringing democracy to the Indian Ocean island resort, said on Wednesday he was forced out of power at gunpoint, prompting clashes between police and angry supporters-Photo courtesy: Reuters

Despite Nasheed’s assertion to the contrary there were sections among “analytical” circles in India who were not happy about the perceived tilt towards China . Nasheed’s successor Dr. Waheed is described as a “long –standing friend of India ” in the Indian media. He is a co-patron of the India-Maldives Friendship society and has often addressed the India club in Male.

It is indeed noteworthy that India had not tried to help or assist the democratically elected Nasheed to quell the mutiny. This is in contrast to 1988 where New Delhi engaged in “Benign intervention”. The Indian establishment and influential sections of the media have seen the Maldivian regime change as a positive development.

Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh in a letter to Dr Waheed after the latter became President wrote: “I take this opportunity to extend my warm felicitations to you on your assumption of office as President of the Maldives.As a close and friendly neighbour, India will, as always, continue to support the Maldivian people’s efforts to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous country. Our two countries share a common destiny and have common security interests.India is committed to working with you and the Government in Maldives to further enhance our close, bilateral cooperation to mutual benefit and for the continued security, progress and prosperity of our two countries.”

It is against this backdrop therefore that I reproduce the four academic articles by Mr.Raman and Dr. Chandrasekharan in sequence on my blog with due acknowledgement to South Asia Analysis Group.

Here they are Friends:-DBSJ

Maldives: Opposition Ganging up Against President Nasheed

By S. Chandrasekharan

Protect Islam Rally

Opposition political parties with over 130 NGOs of all hues staged a combined massive rally in the Tsunami Monument Area on 23rd December with the ostensible purpose of protecting Islam though the real intention was to use religion to further their political ends.

For one thing- Islam was never in danger in Maldives, but what should alarm the people was the way the opposition political parties used this occasion not only to politicise the whole issue but also to whip up frenzy to accuse the Government of trying to wipe out the “Islamic faith of the people” by subterfuge.

The rally unlike the earlier one in the first week of May was fortunately peaceful, but what needs to be noted is that the opposition having failed to create “Tahrir type” of revolution to topple the Government in the first ten days of May 2011, should persist with the same game with added strength and with added vigour on a very sensitive issue (Islamic faith) in Maldives. ( See my paper 4525 of 3rd June 2011 on the subject).

I had also commented in another paper recently in 4710 of 23rd September 2011 that the “New Religious Unity Regulations Bill” to control extremist and unlicensed preaching of Islam will neither bring in unity nor prevent extremism. The bill was to control the influx of extremist scholars who were indulging in whipping of extreme positions in Islam.

But what we saw in Maldives on the 23rd was that the Government need not look beyond Maldivian shores for “extremist preaching” and that they have sufficient otherwise sensible people to whip up religious frenzy to further their own political objectives. As I had said before time and again that the politicians are trying to use religion as a political tool and that it would have disastrous consequences. My paper 4459 of 1st May 2011 and the earlier one 3894 dated 27 June 2010 may be referred to.

There were media reports to indicate that the rally was financed by Pakistan and it could as well be by Saudis too as many of the NGOs do get their money from abroad.

Gayoom is culpable

It is regrettable that one person who should have stopped this unfortunate development, instead took a leading role in getting the rally organised and getting his statement read out in the rally as the “star event.”

This was the former president Gayoom- He said in the statement that was read out -“Maldivians are not forced to be Muslims but they chose to believe in Islam and allowing a religion other than Islam in Maldives will create division among the society. Maldivians should have the right to defend the religion of Islam. I call upon the government to stop its efforts to weaken the Islamic faith.” No one least of all the government was trying to introduce any other religion!

Is it not an irony that a person who claims to have brought in democracy in Maldives should go to such low levels to whip up frenzy only in the hope of getting elected once again as President in 2013?

In this he was joined by Dr. Hassan Saeed the former Attorney General who had felt the taste of extremism in Maldives when his book on Apostasy was banned in Maldives. ( Refer to my paper on his book on freedom of religion and Apostasy Paper No. 2747 of 25-6-2008)

Look at the irony of the presence of Gasim Ibrahim the multimillionaire and head of Jumhorree party, who is making profits by sale of alcohol and resort “spas” that are alleged in the media to have shady activities? Even the Minister for Islamic Affairs Mohammed Abdul Majeed Bari is said to have stakes in the resort business!

Or the presence of Gayoom’s half brother Yameen who accuses the present president of not caring about Arabic Education!

One cannot imagine Gasim who was not on good terms in the best of the times joining hands with Yameen in participating in the rally against the government. Politics make strange bedfellows!

The Five Demands of Rallyists

In the rally, five demands were made-

1. Removing the SAARC monuments- monuments that were gifted by other SAARC countries during the SAARC Summit. ( The gifts given by other countries were deliberately vandalised- on grounds that they were “anti Islamic.” The Sri Lankan state symbol of Lion was vandalised. The monument given by Pakistan hat displayed the Harappan civilization figures were destroyed. Strangely, even the gift of Afghanistan- an image of Jam Minaret which features Quranic Phrases and accepted as a World heritage Site was vandalised!

2. Condemning UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay’s comments on Islamic Sharia. It looks that it was Navi pillay’s Statement in the People’s Majlis that triggered the demonstrations and the rally on the 23rd. Navi Pillay is not a small person- but the head of the UN Human Rights Commission. She was a guest of Maldives and the Maldivan Parliament gave a great honour in letting her address the Majlis ( Parliament). She should have been very discreet and nothing is gained by condemning the practice so openly in the Parliament where one was a guest.

She called for a moratorium and a public debate on flogging as punishment for fornication. She said ” flogging women convicted of extra marital sex -is one of the most inhuman and degrading from of violence against women. She also called on Maldives to remove the “discriminatory” constitutional provision that requires every citizen to be a Muslim.

Navi Pillay may be right but certainly the Majlis is not the place to express her views and this had embarrassed and enraged her hosts. It is not that the progressive people in Maldives do not know about it but she should foreseen the “tsunami” she had created in a country that is struggling with extremism. The protesters were quick to follow with banners like- “Islam is not a toy.” , “Ban United Nations.” , “Flog Pillay”

3. Not allow Israeli Airlines to operate flights to and from Maldives.

4. Close the brothels in the country. Many of the resorts in the country have spas which people say are just brothels. The Government will be forced not only to close the spas but the resorts too and that is going to affect the Government revenues.

5. Reverse the decision in declaring areas of inhabited islands as uninhabited for the purpose of permitting alcohol sales. Without alcohol, the tourist flow will be reduced. Without tourist flows the country cannot proper. This is a vicious circle and it is not the invention of Nasheed’s government but the practice introduced by Gayoom in his time to circumvent religious objections. It is strange that Gayoom who knows the difficulties should associate himself with this demand.

President Nasheed’s Approach to Extremism

From what we see, no one is more aware than President Nasheed himself of the country going radical. It has been his belief that over a period of time, people with more education and awareness will give up extreme positions and take a moderate line. But he seems to be overtaken by the opposition groups who are eager to use religion as a political tool. Nasheed has no time to wait.

The ruling party MDP arranged a counter rally on the same day to “reject religious extremism and continue to support the traditional form of Islam that has been practised for over 800 years. President Nasheed addressed the gathering and asked for moderation in dealing with Islam.

The idea of the rally was to demonstrate to the world at large of the number of moderate people identifying as Muslims as opposed to extremist Muslims. In this they only partially succeeded!

In reacting to the remarks of the Human Rights Chiefs and the virulent response it invoked- Nasheed said that Maldives missed an opportunity to demonstrate the nobility of Islamic Sharia to the world by reacting with ‘jehadi spirit’ to controversial statements made by visiting UN Human Rights Chief. He chided the people that they should have confidence in themselves and not have their faith shaken by listening to statements and opinions of others!

What he did not say is that the Human Rights chief should have been more circumspect in making such remarks which though true are not the right thing to say in a country where the opposition groups are waiting for a chance to use religion for their political ends!

India Spared

So far India has been spared and there has been no criticism of India in all the demonstrations and subsequent developments. On 22nd November, a group of people did try to vandalise the Indian monument located in Seenu Atoll, but no damage could be done as it was made of copper. Strictly speaking India had nothing to do with the developments but in some of the neighbouring countries anti-Indianism is mistaken for nationalism!

Cleansing the Judiciary-Is President Nasheed Over Reaching?

Dr. S.Chandrasekharan.

A serious constitutional crisis has arisen in Maldives over the arrest of the Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed in a joint operation of Police and the MNDF on the 16th of January.

There is no doubt that the judiciary in Maldives is in a mess with many unqualified and incompetent people having made it into the judiciary in the void created during the transition period.

The ICJ report of July 2010 pointed out the legacy of an authoritarian past in which the President was the supreme judicial architect that has tested the transition.

Another factor which inhibited proper selection was that the Judicial Service Commission failed to fulfill the constitutional mandate of properly vetting and reappointing the judges. Even the composition of the commission was questionable. Imagine Gasim Ibrahim being a member- He is a politician and leader of one of the active political parties. He has extensive business interests and there will be an unavoidable clash of interests.

A media report that has not been challenged had this to say-

“ Here, we have a judge whom most agree is corrupt – or at the very least unfit to sit in so high an office; we have a judge who is blatantly politically biased and admits as much on national television; we have a judge who has released criminals including rapists and drug dealers and who has been seen cavorting with defendants after his rulings; and yet we as a nation and people are powerless to remove him from the office which he so flagrantly disgraces. Can there be a constitutional failing that is more evident than the one embodied in this man?”

The person referred to in the last line is none other than Abdulla Mohamad, the Chief Criminal Judge of the country.

In the year 2005, the then Attorney General and now a leader of the DQP has himself reported against the judge and the allegations included misogyny, sexual deviance, throwing out an assault case despite the confession of the accused. The Judicial Commission took its own time to enquire into the allegations and meanwhile the judge approached the civil court and stopped the enquiry!

The judge would have got away with all this but what triggered the anger of the government was that he issued orders for immediate release of two persons from custody – Dr. Jameel, the Vice President of DQP and Sandhaanu Didi for asserting in a private broadcasting station that the government was working with the Jews and Christian priests and encouraging vice. Didi went further and made personal attacks against President saying that the President was a madman and a Christian!

Confronted by the Police, the two were not able to substantiate the allegations and were therefore taken into custody under 125 of penal code which said that a “ person can be punished for making a fabricated statement or repeats a statement whose basis cannot be provided . . . ”

The Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed ordered the immediate release of the accused and the Police with the help of the MNDF in turn arrested the judge of the criminal court.

Police Sources say that the Judge was arrested for unethical conduct in obstructing the Police in exercising their responsibilities to preserve law and order in the society.

The High Court ordered the release of the judge stating that the arrest was illegal.

The Chief Justice Ahmad Faiz and the Prosecutor General also issued orders for the immediate release of the judge.

The JSC ( Judicial Service Commission) also issued a press note that it is not in the jurisdiction of the armed forces or the Police to take action against the judge.

The Vice President has in his blog has said that the arrest is against article 319 of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Further it is against the international covenant of civil and political rights and international convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance. He suggested that the judge should be released and then make the JSC fulfill its responsibilities.

The Secretary General of SAARC and a former attorney General Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed, the youngest and the first female Secretary General, condemned the arrest in a television programme and said that it is a “violation of individual human rights, a violation of independence of the judiciary and a violation of the constitution.” She has put in her resignation papers after the broadcast.

A team of lawyers filed a case against MNDF in the High Court over the illegal arrest of the judge. A case has also been filed in the International Court of Justice over the arrest.

President Nasheed appears to be unrelenting and has justified the arrest. He has separately approached the UN for help in cleaning up the judiciary- immediate issues and the long term issues that includes the failure of the judicial accountability mechanism in the constitution.

It looks that President Nasheed has over reached himself in firstly arresting and in refusing to release the judge when the overwhelming public opinion is against taking such a drastic action. He should have taken this strong stand last year during the transition when some of the judges appointed by the previous regime were found not having “high moral character, educational qualifications or competence.”

One of the charges against the judge now arrested was that in 2005 he was alleged to have requested the under age victim of molestation to re enact her abuse in court. The charge could not be enquired into by the judicial service commission as the judge got a stay order from the civil court.

By this one act of arrest, President Nasheed is likely to antagonise all his admirers and sympathisers. Earlier it is undone, better it would be for all concerned.

Nasheed’s Supporters Allege Gayoom Orchestrated the Coup, call for International Intervention

By B. Raman

Male, the capital of the Maldives, was calm on the night of February 7,2012, with no violent incident reported after the resignation of former President Mohammad Nasheed.

2.Nasheed was released from detention by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) shortly before midnight. A group of police officers searched his house and claimed to have found liquor bottles and narcotic substances in his house. It would appear that attempts are being made to project him as leading an anti-Islam life style. Nasheed’s supporters have alleged that workers of Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives and the minority Divehi Quamee Party are guiding the Police in searching the residence of Nasheed.

3. A spokesperson of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said: “Gayoom controls the judiciary, now the executive, the media, and in a couple of weeks probably the parliament. One thing he cannot control is popular support for President Nasheed, so he needs to find a way to jail or discredit him ahead of the 2013 election.”

4.In its first official reaction, Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has issued the following statement late in the night: “We strongly condemn the coup d’etat that has been brought against the constitutionally elected government of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives. Last night rogue elements from the Maldives Police Service in conjunction with the supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom overthrew the democratically elected government of President Nasheed.

“The overthrow occurred after small numbers of police and army personnel, in response to a call from leading opposition figures, Abdulla Yameen (former President Gayoom’s half brother) and Umar Naseer (former security officer in the regime of President Gayoom), joined with a group of protesters in the centre of Male, protesting against the arrest and detention of a judge accused of corruption.

“These police and army personnel, especially those from the notorious Star Force established by former President Gayoom then, ignoring the chain of command, moved around the capital in full riot gear, attacking MDP headquarters and the houses of MDP MPs and government officials.

“Many MDP members and government officials were badly hurt. Some are unaccounted for. MDP-associated property continues to be attacked. In this climate of chaos and fear, the rogue elements of the police and army helped to take over the main national TV channel, MNBC, replacing it with President Gayoom’s old TV Maldives (TVM), and also moved to take control of key installations.

“During this time, ex President Gayoom’s allies moved to retake control of the army and police. The opposition, supported by the army and police, then offered an ultimatum to President Nasheed: step down or be faced with a bloodbath in the capital.

“President Nasheed thus resigned in order to protect the public from further violence. His resignation was involuntary in that he had no choice.

“President Nasheed was taken to the President’s Office under the custody of the security forces and subsequently resigned.

“We also condemn the violent attacks carried out against our members by the Maldives Police Service including Member of Parliament and our former chairperson Mariya Didi and other MPs from the party.

“We call upon the international community to assist us in establishing democracy in the Maldives and protect the officials of the government of President Nasheed. We fear for the safety of President Nasheed and senior members of his government.”

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  1. Very intriguing piece Mr.Jeyaraj. India does regard this region as its extended neighbourhood.The timing of the opening of a full-fledged Chinese embassy on the eve of a SAARC summit was a deliberate provocation

  2. Trouble in paradise?
    Sri Lanka lost a lot of tourists to Maldives during the past 30 years of Tamil militancy. If there is even a slight smell of trouble, Maldives will be the loser and SL will gain.

  3. I used to teach English in the Maldives. The people are simple and friendly but cunning corrup politicians like Abdul Gayoon ruined country

  4. When Elephants roll in the grass tiny grasshoppers should keep away and not try to join the fun. When Asian giants compete dwarfs like Maldives must not try to play power politics by trying to manipulate both sides

  5. India played the game perfectly.India’s National Interest was protected.The tilt towards China was the downfall of the Maldivian President.

  6. DBJS man your awesome. I dont know how you find these information but your connections are great and your writing is fantastic. Even if i dont agree with all what you say i respect your investigative journalism. Well done and keep up the great work.

  7. Dear DBSJ,
    Yours is indeed a fine probe of what smells suspiciously like some Maldive Fish gone bad.
    The social conditions in those dangerously low lying islands may be added to the picture. Here is a report I saw recently in the Sydney Morning Herald:
    ( You may need to edit it if you intend for manageability )
    Maldives struggles to fight drug epidemic
    Ben Doherty
    January 26, 2012
    ”It’s just all around, drugs are everywhere” Ben Doherty
    MALE, Maldives: Beyond the idyllic white-sand beaches and cerulean seas of the Maldives is a country facing a spiralling drug epidemic.
    For several years, the country has been flooded with cheap, low-grade heroin – ”brown sugar” as it is known on the streets of Male – smuggled into the country in boats from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
    The exact number of drug users in the far-flung Indian Ocean archipelago is hard to know. In a conservative Muslim society where drinking alcohol is illegal, discussion of a drug habit is taboo.
    Advertisement: Story continues below
    Some reports suggest there are 30,000 regular drug users in the country. Two years ago, the United Nations Development Program estimated 40 per cent of Maldivian youth were using hard drugs.
    ”This is a small community here. Every family here has been affected by the drugs problem in some way. All of us suffer,” Fatimanth Afiya, the chairperson of the Society for Women Against Drugs, says.
    ”Heroin is the big problem. It is cheap, and it is easy to get.”
    The ready availability of drugs is compounded by social factors in the Maldives. Despite having the highest gross domestic product per capita in South Asia (thanks largely to its tourism industry), the Maldives has a burgeoning young population it cannot employ.
    Forty-four per cent of the country’s population is aged under 14 and 62 per cent under 25. Across the archipelago, a quarter of all young men and half of all women have no work.
    The economic pull of the capital means families often live in cramped accommodation in Male and children spend most of their time out on the street.
    Gangs are common. Prison is the other great incubator. Research by Women Against Drugs and other non-government organisations suggests 80 per cent of prisoners are incarcerated for drugs offences and punitive drug laws mean people are sentenced to extraordinary terms. Young offenders are regularly ordered to serve decades of jail time.
    Possession of anything more than one gram of heroin is considered trafficking and attracts a 25-year sentence.
    But last month, the Maldivian Parliament passed a drugs bill that will reduce jail terms and dedicate more money towards rehabilitation.
    ”The bill is not to treat addicts as criminals, but to treat the whole drug issue as a public health issue,” the Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed, told the Herald.
    He cited the establishment of drop-in centres and methadone and rehabilitation clinics as evidence the Maldives had started to address the problem, rather than simply punish those caught up in it.
    ”We feel it is possible to get a grip on it but, at the same time, you have to loosen up. Society has to give up so many other restrictions on life so that the youth can have a … happier life.”
    Colourful buildings support Male’s tropical paradise reputation by day but the island has a different mood after dark.
    Amaty (not his real name), a young Maldivian drug user who grew up on another island but came to Male with his family, told the Herald he had quit before, a ”lot of times”, but never for very long.
    ”It’s just all around, drugs are everywhere here. You want to stop, but your friends take drugs. And the people are here who will sell [them] to you. Male is small, man, where you can go? You know everybody, and everybody can find you.”

  8. Nasheed is a Great of Friend of Lanka. On behalf of all Lankans I wish him and his family all the best. Sir if life is dangerous over there please come and live with us in Colombo or anywhere else you like

  9. At the end of the day a coup happens when the military gets too big for their boots!

    Given the militarization of the world due to America’s global “war on terror” and the proliferation of the international military industrial complex that runs everything, democracy all over the world is in tatters and there is a legitimacy crisis.

    There may have been lots of Islamists and Gayoomists who did not like Nasheed, but the fact is that this would not have happened without the military – here there is a lesson for the Rajapakse Bros. who lay faith in the military and have been busy militarising lanka. The people of Lanka are getting tired of the brother’s brand of crony capitalism and conspicuous consumption that increases the national debt and cost of living. However much Gotabaya pays the military – WHEN the people get sick of the Rajapakse Bros. dictatorship the military will turn against them – so better what out Gota the military goon!

  10. Nasheed was getting too uppity snubbing India too much. Anyone who defies India in South Asia has to be taught a lesson


  12. Thank u DBSJ,

    Very little known about this tiny nation of islands. It is amazing to know this little man Nasheed can stand tall against all odds for democracy.

    Nasheed is ahead of his times. Maldivians are losing a good visionary leader.

    Here we are crying for democracy ! When Maldivians have truly got a democratic leader they are throwing him out !

    To add about the Asian politics; It is pathetic that India and China continue to be rivals. If they (India , Japan & China) unite no western power can manipulate the Asian region. Asians will rule the world. Aren’t the Asians being gullible to the west. West wants the emerging powers to be destabilized by rivalry.

    30 yrs ago India & USA were enemies but now they are friends… Hmm… world politics…. messing up this tiny Maldivian nation is a crime …. I really do not believe this. It is surely an internal problem created by Gayoom.

  13. Ah now Nasheed’s wife has sought refuge in Sri Lanka and Mahinda has given her protection. Mahinda has also phoned Waheed and urged Nasheed’s safety.He also sopke to Nasheed

    Curiouser and curiouser

  14. The whole issue is captured in the conclusion Mohamed Nasheed tried to do “too much too soon” While this may have been relevant elsewhere, in this small Island – where a Govt could be overthrown by a mod of 100 as it was – he should have proceeded far too gradually and carefully. It is a highly corrupt country with huge Tourism, Fishing and
    Shipping mafiosi. Nasheed can never be a “has been” He has much influence among the ordinary people. Drug-trafficking is a lucrative business as well in the Archipelago, where the incident of consumption is high as the Per Capita – probably the highest in the region. Yaalu-miniha has come a long way.

    Sadly, the Islands are more likely to go through a period of turmoil – a realith that cannot contribute to the stability of an already pressure-cooker atmosphere.


  15. Nasheed thought China will save him and played games with New Delhi.But Mother India fixed him right and proper at right time.

    Same way Apey Mahinda thinks he can play games with India because of China. But like his podi malli Nasheed Mahinda Aiya will also find his sataka and sarama pulled off by Mother India at appropriate time

    Only thing for Mahinda to do now is to go and fall at Mother Sonias feet and not get up till she promises safety

  16. Sri lanka is pretending as a friend to Maldives But they involve in helping sy for their big brothers. Same with the Iranian ools.

  17. When two great neighbors fight it out, you can be friend of both, but you cannot play one off the other.

    The Maldivian incident shows that.

    This should also serves as a lesson to all in the neighborhood particularly all those who want to use the China card against India or India card against China.

    When two elephants fight it out it is wiser to withdraw from that place.

  18. The coup was initiated in new Delhi not in Male. India wants to keep a puppet in Male to protect their interests and this is the only place they can play the game freely.

  19. Best option for Mahinda Rajapakse is to solve the Tamil problem quickly with substantial autonomy as requested by Tamils to the Tamil homeland of North-east instaed of falling prostrate to India, China or US. Without that if he tries to dodge by playing China VS India, he will receive the same fate as his Maldivian friend.

  20. It’s an excellent piece of news and thanks to Mr jayaraj

    Earnest Mcintyre, you seem to be in sydney. I can remember you at Katubedda. Best wishes to you.

    I do not think Naseed was againt India but he was overtly friendly. Thats all.

    Just as India’s meddling in SL proved a disaster, this also will turn out the same for India.

  21. ‘Kiss of death’ to Nashhed from Rajapaksa. Now Mrs. Nasheed can take to the streets of Colombo to seek justice for husband, along with Anoma Fonseka!

  22. He followed and got advice from the wrong individual. Good lesson to elected members who become Dictators and convert democratic Countries into corrupt, lawless Banana Republics.

  23. RAJA says:
    February 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm
    Best option for Mahinda Rajapakse is to solve the Tamil problem quickly with substantial autonomy as requested by Tamils to the Tamil homeland of North-east instaed of falling prostrate to India, he will receive the same fate as his Maldivian friend.



  24. Great OPPORTUNITY for INDIA & SRI LANKA to work together – outside of Sri Lanka – Tamil relations and in the SAARC sphere, to restore democracy and peace in the neighborhood and earn each others’ trust!

  25. I dont think this is a good thing. whatever mistakes the ex president did, he was a democrat. what is wrong in him favouring the chinese a bit if it is good for the maldivian economy? is nt the maldives he should give prominence? i cant understand how sum indian are happy with that thinking this is a good move. The opposition party has so many religous nut jobs and it would be a dangerous thing if the country goes to the hands of islamists. I wonder how india hopes to have friends among them. this will result in a troubled region. If india wants to be a leader in the region, it is not a very insightful leader i have to say.

    it is funny when some indians bloat how india champions in democracy while acting against democratic leaders. It is the same funny story where some indians bloat how india provided ltte arms as if it was out of compassion towards the tamils, when in reality it was all about geo politics. india hasnt learnt anything from america’s experiment in afganistan against russia during the cold war period.

    One thing i dont know, may be DBSJ can enlighten me on that, 🙂 , who murdered uma maheswaran? the PLOT guy who took militants to maldives in 1988? was it the LTTE? or does it remain a mystery?

    Please read this article in full………DBSJ

  26. The problem with muslim countries is they are way too religous. Any outsider can do anything and arouse religous sentiments among the public and run havoc in the country. I see many here commenting that this is a lesson for SL saying india can do the same here. No dear india cant do that. To do that you need a substantial proportion in the population to act against the present regime. In SL except for a small percentage in the urban society, mahinda is very famous in the country. It is being reduced, bt this sort of regime change cant happen now.

    even though i am not a mahinda supporter, i am not for a regime change now. but i am for a movement by the civil society movement to strengthen democracy in the island, where power devolution is a big part in their movement.

    Unlike many think Mahinda is having very good relations with india right now. India is being given a free licence to economically rob the country as long as india supports mahinda regime. india is not pro democracy and it never was. Mahinda helps india to steal the wealth of this country and india provides help to mahinda to stay in power. 😐

  27. The problem with muslim countries is they are way too religous. any bugger from outside can arouse thir religous sentiments and run havoc in the country. this is a weakness that many western powers exploit.

    i see many here commenting this is a lesson for SL and Nasheed was punished for favoring china and that it can happen in SL as well. I see many indians boasting about it too. No dear this is lack of fore sight from indian’s side. No dear, it cant happen in SL at this moment. For a sudden regime change to happen there needs a substantial proportion of the population to be against the goverenment. In SL that is not the case. Except for a small percentage in urban areas, Mahin da is famous among people in SL. i am not a Mahinda supporter, but i do not expect a regime change like this in this country. Every time a regime change should be by the ballot. It has been the way so far in our island whatever happended.

    the other thing is contrary to what many beleive, Mahinda has a very good relationship with india. India protects mahinda. Mahinda has given india a free license to rob our country and india protects mahinda. that is the way things work now. india is not pro democracy as it tries to portray. Even indira ghandhi did not give arms to ltte out of passion it was all about geo politics. Our racist politicians, nationalism, racism and ultra idiotic militants made the things easy for them.

  28. DBSJ Annai,
    SL is not the Closest Country to Maldives & in fact it is Laksha Deepa or Kavaratti (India) Just 470 Km Away from Maldives !!!
    Secondly its an Insult to say Maldivian resort Rates are ONLY Up to US$ 1,000 a Night… Self, Having Worked for almost 7 plus Years in the Maldives for the Biggest In Bound Tour Operator in Maldives(which handled worlds 2nd largest tour operator, namely LTU of Germany) U will find probably Robinson Crusoe Suite for US$ 28K per Night at that Fabulous Soneva-Fushi or Soneva-Gili…
    Thirdly, I see India’s involvement clearly here…

  29. What is the hurry for MR to rush to Pakistan now when PM Gilani is caught in a cleft for protecting the Pak’s President who is under the shadow of the SC of that country for the accountability of his Swiss largesse? Is he going there to give advise how to appoint a pliable judiciary?

  30. Dear Sach,

    ” Mahinda has a very good relationship with india. India protects mahinda. Mahinda has given india a free license to rob our country and india protects mahinda.”

    Can you pl. tell, how India is robbing the wealth of your country ?. Is providing aid ro rebuild your war torn north and east , is robbing ? Investing in your country in the infrastructure projects is robbing ?
    Deflecting the western pressure on Srilanka, during your final war with the LTTE is robbing ? Top Indian companies such as Tata’s, Birlas, Reliance, etc investing in your country, creating 1000s emplyoment to your people and paying taxes to ur govt. ( A dire necessity as your country has fallen behind by miles due to your 30 years internal war) is robbing ?

    Say sorry to India man.

  31. Sach,

    “One thing i dont know, may be DBSJ can enlighten me on that, , who murdered uma maheswaran? the PLOT guy who took militants to maldives in 1988? was it the LTTE? or does it remain a mystery?

    Please read this article in full………DBSJ ”

    It is really hilarious that you are writing many comments about an article, with out reading the article itself.


    You boast little too much of your tiny island and its King. We all know your Mahinda is unique but unique in what way is the million dollar question. I feel sorry for your pettiness that instead of looking at the big picture and the issues looming large at the nation you are talking about Tamils, North and East etc..

    India allowed Mahinda to eliminate Tigers and for domestic political reason/s it allowed Mahinda to go to China. Only to find that Mahinda started ‘Sleeping with Enemy’, the China.

    Now India’s priority is to clear the backyard from the Chinese and it obviously became alarmed on China’s base in Seacell and Nasheed over doing of allowing Chinese fully fledge Embassy in Male.

    Everyone knows that Mahinda, the pro China man was in good rapport with Nasheed.

    India now acted. The same India waited 18 years for the LTTE to grow to a size so that running away in to the jungle as a Guerilla force like that of 1987 during IPKF era, virtually impossible. It was India that engineered the removal of soft Ranil and brining in the hard Mahinda to the throne to eliminate the LTTE and it will reverse it, if need be.

    India will act again and with that the uniqueness you mentioned will also go away. Because it is ‘Economy Stupid’. For China and the US, India’s 1.1 billion market is bigger than the Mahinda and his tiny island.

    Remember one thing: Your country had paid in blood for the last 30 plus years for trying to out smart India. Mahinda is NOT trying new that was NOT tried by JR Jayawardena. JRJ ignored India for the West and Mahinda is doing the same for China. JRJ’s adventure: 30 years blood letting and Mahinda’s adventure: ?

    For the betterment of the country it is better India wins over China in Sri Lanka or else all will be unwell for the Sri Lankans without any economic progress. As the saying goes, when needed the next door neighbour comes first than a close friend roads away.

    Like JRJ, Mahindas come and goes but Sri Lanka should survive.

    And Samara, let us discuss professionally here instead of those rubbish and for that there plenty of other blogs where you can be a hero.

  33. Coming colour in no good for SL, if there is anything to be lernt from Male incident. Ours bosses are mindful and jittery about all this and more. God has taken the gavel in his hand and there is nothing the CJs or the Chiefs can do about it. The absence of display army and airforce “DO” and harware parade is a give-away. The unpredictable shuffles of the decks in the Police, STF, and the other armed forces gives food for thought!

  34. Oh well this is another evidence what the mighty india is capable of! I am sure many anti-SL government people probably expecting/wanting the same in Sri Lanka but Sri Lanka is far more stronger. MR regime has stronger support inside and outside of Sri Lanka, I am pretty sure India’s similiar consipiracy in SL will be thwarted before it even takes off. After all, MR regime is not that civilized or democratic as ex-maldivian Nasheed’s squat so any hope for this kind of power oust will result in more loss to the ordinary people.

  35. Gayoom came to power 30 years ago by politically choking Naseer Husain during a time of Maldivians were not well educated. Politicians should be very careful as the todays world is well advance.

  36. Dear Ranga

    It was India that engineered the removal of soft Ranil and brining in the hard Mahinda to the throne to eliminate the LTTE

    What is your evidence? Are you Indian?

  37. Wije,

    I don’t need to be an Indian to write the fact.

    Are you not aware that India threw the spanner into the work of Ranil, LTTE and Norway by getting CBK to dismiss the govt and calling for elections in which Mahinda became PM. Are you not aware how Mahinda was dealing with Tigers to stop Northerners from voting.

    You must have read about late Lasantha’s editorial in Sunday Leader on Sen, the then India’s HC of how he involved in these dirty works in SL, prompting him to move to NY.

    Even though India do not have any supporters from natives in SriLanka, the fact is it has a massive influence.

  38. Vanakam,
    According to the Global Fire Power, a comparison between the military strengths of china and India in numbers
    China India
    CURRENT GFP RANK 3 current GFP Rank 4

    Total Population 1,336,718,015 1,189,172,906
    Military Manpower Available 749,610,775 615,201,057
    Fit for Military Service 618,588,627 489,571,520
    Reaching Military Age Yearly 19,538,534 22,896,956
    Active Military Personnel 2,285,000 1,325,000
    Active Military Reserves 800,000 1,747,000
    Total Aircraft 5,176 2,462
    Total Land-Based Weapons 47,575 75,191
    Total Naval Units 972 175
    Towed Artillery 25,000 10,000
    Merchant Marine Strength 2,012 324
    Major Ports and Terminals 8 7
    Aircraft Carriers 1 1
    Destroyers 25 8
    Frigates 47 12
    Submarines 63 15
    Patrol Coastal Craft 332 31
    Mine Warfare Craft 52 8
    Amphibious Operations Craft 233 20
    Defense Budget / Expenditure $100,000,000,000 $36,030,000,000
    Foreign Reserves $2,876,000,000,000 $284,100,000,000
    Purchasing Power $10,090,000,000,000 $4,060,000,000,000
    Oil Production 4,273,000 bbl 878,700 bbl
    Oil Consumption 9,189,000 bbl 2,980,000 bbl
    Proven Oil Reserves 20,350,000,000 bbl 5,800,000,000 bbl
    Total Labor Force 815,300,000 478,300,000
    Roadway Coverage 3,860,800 km 3,320,410 km
    Railway Coverage 86,000 km 63,974 km
    Waterway Coverage 110,000 km 14,500 km
    Coastline Coverage 14,500 km 7,000 km
    Major Serviceable Airports 502 352
    Square Land Area 9,596,961km 3,287,263 km

    bbl = Barrel of Oil (1 bbl = 42 US Gallons or 159 litres)

    Thanks to Global Fire Power.


  39. Ranga, wije, Bharat, etc , etc , etc,etc etc, etc, ———————-,

    You fools !.

    India is like a mother country to you all. You gonna fool around with with China etc, you will end up like


  40. This is Indiaś handiwork.
    India did this with Umamaheswaran. They are capable of doing this to SriLanka as well but it will be very hard. Thanks to Jinnah without him the plight of Muslims in the subcontinent would have been beyond imagination.

  41. Srilanka,

    “This is Indiaś handiwork.

    India did this with Umamaheswaran. They are capable of doing this to SriLanka as well but it will be very hard. Thanks to Jinnah without him the plight of Muslims in the subcontinent would have been beyond imagination”

    And now the plight of Muslims in the subcontinent , especially in pakistan(where if there are no bomb blasts in crowded places/religious places, in day, it is a big news)is within your imagination ?

    Your kind people will never learn. You people will support any kind of worst terrorism, if it is done by your people and shout from the rooftop about human rights, personal rights etc etc, if strong action is taken against your terrorists.

    USA treatment is the right treatment (kill bin, Drones, Shoot first) for your kinda people.

    “This is Indiaś handiwork”

    Do you have any supporting material( news clippings in any reputed news papers, wiki leak types etc etc) to justify your bombastic claim ?

    Otherwise you are just an ‘a– hole’

  42. I appeal to world leaders not to recognise the puppet regime installed in maldives by that corrupt man maumoon abdul gayoom its a crime against maldivian people president mohamed nasheed who brought democracy to maldives after thirty years of corrupt rule by gayoom must be recogniced as the truly elected leader of maldivian people Ananda Lanerolle Baddegama Srilanka

  43. [The Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed ordered the immediate release of the accused and the Police with the help of the MNDF in turn arrested the judge of the criminal court.

    Police Sources say that the Judge was arrested for unethical conduct in obstructing the Police in exercising their responsibilities to preserve law and order in the society.

    The High Court ordered the release of the judge stating that the arrest was illegal.]

    This is where nasheed showed what a stupid ass he is.Anybody with a brain in their head will not go and arrest a judge,for doing something that is a part of his duties.The judge ordered the release of an accused,a person who has been only charged with an offence,not a convicted prisoner serving a sentence.A very high handed act by a president who has just come into power and lost his head completely.He should have looked into a judicial process to counter and cancel the judges decision instead of arresting a judge.I remember the pakistani general musharaff was also toppled when he sacked a judge and the lawyers started protesting.these guys should learn from mahinda who patiently waits till judges retire and then appoints those who will do anything he says for them to do,including putting into jail those who oppose him such as fonseka.If anyone thinks that mahinda will also be toppled one day like nasheed in the maldives,they are having sweet dreams.They can give him a hard time with street demonstrations etc,but the medamulana machiavelli will wriggle out somehow.

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