Member of Parliament for the Mahibadhoo Constituency Ahmed Thariq (Tom) recounted the maltreatment and abuse of Maldivian fishing boats and its crew when they entered the Indian maritime territory, by accident.
Speaking at the party event at the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) headquarters, Tom recalled the events that unfolded less than a week ago. He stated that he received a call from an MP alerting him that a fishing boat from Mahibadhoo island had been maltreated by the Indian military.
Tom stated that he was able to reach the distressed boat a day after attempts to contact it.
Tom said that the Indian military boarded three Maldivian fishing boats eight miles within the Indian maritime territory, just outside HA. Atoll. He said that this involved a Mahibadhoo fishing boat, Ihavandhoo fishing boats and another fishing boat belonging to a Northernmost Atoll.
Tom stated that one fishing boat was boarded in the middle of the night while its crew was asleep, threatening them with weapons, and left the boats with some of the crew’s belongings as well. “like pirates”, he added.
Tom told the audience that a second boat was boarded in the same night, and threatened in a similar manner, however, the Mahibadhoo fishing boat was not boarded until 10 in the morning, the next day.
Tom asserted that the boat crews were forced to crouch on their knees on the decks of the boats, threatened their lives and searched the boats. He said that before the guardsmen left, they took some of the crews’ belongings and kicked a member of the crew into the sea.
Voicing his concern over their ill-treatment, Tom claimed that the Maldivian Coast Guard does not treat Indian drifters the same way.
Giving an example, Tom stated that a year ago, the national Coast Guard spotted an Indian vessel 40 miles outside N. Atoll and sent them back to their country, four days later, without any action.
On the contrary, Tom claimed that the naval services took the Indian fishing boat to HDh. Kulhudhuffushi, fed and clothed its crew before returning them back home safely.