President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has issued a decree, effectively outlawing the India Out movement.
The decree was issued on Thursday’s issue of the Government’s gazette. The decree stated that the India Out movement was a movement based on hate speech and hate directed against India, and as such, deemed a direct threat to national security by the third session of the National Security Council.
The decree further said that the Government’s policy was to ensure protection of free speech and assembly and uphold principles of democratic societies. However, the movement, the decree added, was a subversion of free speech and would mar the relationship between the two nations, development of the Maldives and effect the attempts to sustain regional peace and stability.
As such, the decree said provision of safety and security to foreign nationals stationed in Embassies and Consulates was the responsibility of the host nation and that Maldives had a responsibility of ensuring targeted attacks against a race or a creed of people, adding that protection and safety of all was mandated in the Penal Code.
The President’s decree also said that it was obvious that the India Out movement was a clear threat to national security, endangered peace and stability in the country and Indian Ocean region, and hampered the social fabric of the nation.
It also noted that Maldivians would suffer immeasurable and unimaginable losses, if allowed to continue. The movement, the decree claimed, would impact the safety of Maldivians traveling and living abroad, safety of foreign nationals living in the Maldives, and hamper our very independence.
The National Security Council had also decreed that all political efforts based on inciting hatred on a certain country will be stopped. The decree had instructed all relevant government institutions and agencies to take action against the India Out movement.
This is the first time a President had issued a decree banning and criminalizing a movement championed by a political party. The move came a day after Parliament Speaker and former President Mohamed Nasheed spoke in Parliament against the movement.