Tuesday 24th May 2022
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India Out movement

MDP Drafts Bill To Punish India Out Movement With Jail Terms And House-Arrests

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which leads the ruling coalition, has begun drafting a bill that could penalise all supporters and participants of the "India Out" campaign with jail sentences. The India Out campaign was a grassroots movement which called for the removal of all Indian military personnel and assets from the Maldives.
An MDP parliamentarian told The Maldives Journal that the bill was being drafted to punish all activities that could jeopardise or harm the country's foreign relations.
The bill has been termed "The Bill To Stop All Actions That Could Negatively Effect Relations Established By The Maldives With Foreign Countries". The MDP is preparing to present the bill once the Majlis comes out of recess this week.
Drafts of the bill have been shared with MDP parliamentarians. The text of the draft states that its primary objective is to hinder and stop any actions that could have a negative effect on the Maldives' relations with foreign countries.
As an example of such a punishable action, the draft mentions the case of a specific group claiming to represent the people or a political party were to organise demonstrations and hold protests against a specific country's government and its specific institutions; in matters that did not contradict legal and international standards accepted by the Maldives and the foreign country.
The bill also criminalises demonstrating that the Maldives is under the dominion of a foreign country or that its sovereignty and independence are controlled by the military, political, and economic means of a foreign country.
The bill suggests fines of MVR20,000, imprisonment, and house-arrest as punishments.
The MDP has begun drafting such a bill a short while after the Indian government had instructed the Maldivian government to put a stop to the "India Out" movement. The India Out movement, though it had begun on social media as a grassroots movement, has since been adopted by opposition leader, former President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayyoom; the Maldivian government has made many attempts to put a stop to the movement.