Parliament Speaker and former President Mohamed Nasheed has stated that the India Out banners installed on various buildings violated the Penal Code of the country and as such, must be removed by Maldives Police Service (MPS) immediately.
He made the statement on Wednesday's Parliament session, in response to an emergency motion submitted by Naifaru Constituency Member of Parliament Ahmed Shiyam, calling on the Government to condemn the brutal attacks on Indian Muslims, supported by the India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Nasheed said that internal matters of foreign nations were of no concern to the Maldives, and as such, banners critical of internal policies of those nations were a violation of the Penal Code.
While Nasheed, in his role as Speaker of the Parliament, had made this declaration, it should be noted that no such clause or wording is in the Penal Code or any other law in the Maldives.
"This is a violation of public interest, Police needs to remove it immediately," said Nasheed.
While Speaker Nasheed made these comments, there is no clause within the
The statement came after the opposition Progressive Congress Coalition had installed a massive banner on the residence of opposition leader former President Abdullah Yameen.
The red, green, and white banner is inscribed with the words ‘India Out’ and is clearly visible from the Male’ Hulhumale’ bridge. This was part of opposition-led movement to kick out Indian military personnel stationed in the country. Such banners had previously been installed in various parts of the country and main offices of the opposition.
The India Out movement was a grassroot movement, following concerns over the secretive nature of agreements made between the two countries. Following his acquittal from the Supreme Court, President Yameen had amped up the movement, holding massive rallies in various parts of the country.
This is not the first time members of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had attempted to squash the movement. Members of Parliament from MDP had defended this administration's close, almost slavish, partnership and secretive agreements on the Parliament floor.