The Maldives Defense Minister, Mariya Didi, is facing criticism for ridiculing a Maldivian citizen who was unjustly detained by Indian authorities during his recent visit to India. Speaking at an event to hand over the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party's presidential ticket to President Solih, Mariya made fun of Abdul Samad, a former police officer, and soldier, for crying when he was detained. Notably, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih was in the audience cheering and clapping when Mariya made these comments.
Last week, Indian immigration and police officials arrested Samad while he was receiving medical treatment in a hospital. They then detained him for 18 hours in an extremely cold room before deporting him back to the Maldives. The Indian authorities have not provided any explanation for Samad's deportation, and the Maldivian government has yet to comment on the matter.
Samad is a known participant in the India Out campaign in the Maldives, which aims to remove Indian military personnel from the country. Mariya's comments have drawn widespread criticism, with many calling her statements arrogant and inappropriate.
Former assistant commissioner of the Maldives police service, Dr. Abdullah Fairoosh, took to Twitter to criticize Mariya, stating that her comments not only humiliated Samad but also raised questions about the strength of her character. Similarly, former Captain (Rtd) Ali Ihusan of the Maldives Defense Forces tweeted his condemnation, reminding Mariya that she is the defense minister of the Maldives and not of India.
Mariya has a history of making controversial statements, including claiming that India could invade the Maldives at any time. Prior to becoming the defense minister, she referred to Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) soldiers as cowards and suggested that the MNDF should be disbanded. Under Mariya's ministership, the Maldives has signed various secretive agreements with India, including the UTF agreement, which allows India to station soldiers on an island in the Maldives for 30 years.
The general perception among the public is that Mariya is a traitor to the nation, and her recent comments have only reinforced this perception. The Maldives government has not yet issued any statement regarding Mariya's comments.