Member of Parliament for Dhiggaru Constituency Ikram Hassan says that it is not a must for Maldivians to speak up about the injustices against Indian Muslims face from the Hindhu majority and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Parliamentarian, who is of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), made the controversial statements speaking in Dhivehi Channel’s ‘Harihatti’ show.
In the program, the MP denied that Maldives was firmly ensconced in India’s hegemony. He labeled the claims to that effect as “preposterous”. MP Ikram said that he was able to say this as he was able to easily meet the High Commissioner and other staff of the High Commission easily. He described President Salih and Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid’s foreign policy was fair and unbiased.
The interviewer, then proceeded to point out numerous cases where Muslims of India were mistreated, maligned, brutally murdered, and hijab bans in schools enforced. The interviewer continued to ask why the Government of Maldives had not condemned these actions, asking whether if this was not a sign that Maldivian government was muzzled in by India.
To this line of questioning, MP Ikram said that what is bad will always be bad. He noted that there were many Indians who had condemned these issues – both Muslim and Hindu. Nothing that Indian assistance was vital not just to the defense but also to the economy of Maldives, MP Ikram said this assistance was given irrespective of which administration was in power in India.
Therefore, he said, as a principle, it was not for us to condemn or criticize an internal policy adapted by the administration at the time.
“The administration at the time can implement any policy they see fit. But as a principle, I believe that a nation as small as ours, so reliant on Indian assistance as such, criticizing India is not a must,” he said.
The documented levels of hate crime against Muslims had increased exponentially under the current BJP administration. Hijab bans in schools have highlighted not only the rising Islamophobia but also misogyny. While Maldivians had raised their voices against this, the Government of Maldives and ruling MDP had remained silent on the issue.