Tuesday, February 7, 2012



Male, the capital of the Maldives, was calm on the night of February 7,2012, with no violent incident reported after the resignation of former President Mohammad Nasheed.

2.Nasheed was released from detention by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) shortly before midnight. A group of police officers searched his house and claimed to have found liquor bottles and narcotic substances in his house. It would appear that attempts are being made to project him as leading an anti-Islam life style. Nasheed’s supporters have alleged that workers of Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives and the minority Divehi Quamee Party are guiding the Police in searching the residence of Nasheed.

3. A spokesperson of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said: “Gayoom controls the judiciary, now the executive, the media, and in a couple of weeks probably the parliament. One thing he cannot control is popular support for President Nasheed, so he needs to find a way to jail or discredit him ahead of the 2013 election.”

4.In its first official reaction, Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has issued the following statement late in the night: “We strongly condemn the coup d’etat that has been brought against the constitutionally elected government of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives. Last night rogue elements from the Maldives Police Service in conjunction with the supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom overthrew the democratically elected government of President Nasheed.

“The overthrow occurred after small numbers of police and army personnel, in response to a call from leading opposition figures, Abdulla Yameen (former President Gayoom’s half brother) and Umar Naseer (former security officer in the regime of President Gayoom), joined with a group of protesters in the centre of Male, protesting against the arrest and detention of a judge accused of corruption.

“These police and army personnel, especially those from the notorious Star Force established by former President Gayoom then, ignoring the chain of command, moved around the capital in full riot gear, attacking MDP headquarters and the houses of MDP MPs and government officials.

“Many MDP members and government officials were badly hurt. Some are unaccounted for. MDP-associated property continues to be attacked. In this climate of chaos and fear, the rogue elements of the police and army helped to take over the main national TV channel, MNBC, replacing it with President Gayoom’s old TV Maldives (TVM), and also moved to take control of key installations.

“During this time, ex President Gayoom’s allies moved to retake control of the army and police. The opposition, supported by the army and police, then offered an ultimatum to President Nasheed: step down or be faced with a bloodbath in the capital.

“President Nasheed thus resigned in order to protect the public from further violence. His resignation was involuntary in that he had no choice.

“President Nasheed was taken to the President’s Office under the custody of the security forces and subsequently resigned.

“We also condemn the violent attacks carried out against our members by the Maldives Police Service including Member of Parliament and our former chairperson Mariya Didi and other MPs from the party.

“We call upon the international community to assist us in establishing democracy in the Maldives and protect the officials of the government of President Nasheed. We fear for the safety of President Nasheed and senior members of his government.” ( 8-2-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )



The Maldives saw dramatic developments on February 7,2012, when President Mohammed Nasheed was forced to step down from office following a mutiny by about 100 officers of the Police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) who joined a group of anti-Government protesters belonging to the opposition parties,who have been protesting in the public square of Male, the capital, since January 16 against the arrest of the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court on the orders of President Nasheed by the MNDF on the ground that his activities posed a threat to national security.

2.The protesters and the revolting officers of the police and the MNDF attacked the headquarters of the MNDF, set fire to the office of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party, seized the local broadcasting/TV station run by the Government and issued ultimatums to the President to resign or face an attack on the Presidential residence.

3. Following this, the President in a brief statement read out by him in the local Divehi language from the TV station controlled by the revolting officers announced his resignation.

4. He said in his statement: “I resign because I am not a person who wishes to rule with the use of power. I believe that if the government were to remain in power it would require the use of force which would harm many citizens. I resign because I believe that if the government continues to stay in power, it is very likely that we may face foreign influences.I have always wished the citizens of this country well, now and into the future. I have made this decision and I wish for your prosperity in this life and the life after.”

5. Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan was thereafter sworn in as the President.Following his swearing-in, Dr Waheed spoke on the TV.He said he was grateful to the police and the MNDF who had made “great sacrifices” to defend the constitution.He added:“Today is the day the rule of law has been established in the country perfectly.I will not order the police, military or any person to do anything against the law – I promise it to the public. Everyone will have the protection of constitution and laws.”

6.Dr Waheed also said that Nasheed and his family would receive protection under the law.He further said:“I call upon all political parties, the Maldives National Defense Force, and the public that this is the time to put aside personal hatreds and jealousies, and prioritise to work for the interests of our nation. And I assure that we will work to restore peace and prosperity of the nation, to deliver a harmonious and peaceful living to the people.”

7.The trouble that led to the dramatic developments of February 7 started in January after the Government announced plans to re-organise the judiciary on the ground of its alleged incompetence and inefficiency.

8. On January 16, the Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed was arrested by military forces and detained at a training facility in Kaafu Atoll Girifushi.The matter was raised by the opposition in the National Security Committee of the Parliament. In statements before the Committee,Home Minister Hassan Afeef and Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu stated that the judge was not under arrest, and that he was being “supervised to ensure national security”.

9.The Defence Minister avoided repeated requests of the opposition MsP to explain the reasons for the judge’s arrest, claiming that the reasons had been explained in a previous public statement which was aired on the state TV three days after the arrest. Afeef at the time had accused the judge of “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist”, and added that the executive had been compelled to act to protect the constitution.

10. The Defence Minister stated that the police had sent a letter to the armed forces on January 16 “requesting assistance to carry out its legal duty under article 71 of the Police Act, stating that the Criminal Court was not cooperating with police and that as a consequence of Judge Mohamed’s obstructing police work, the country’s internal security was threatened and police were unable to maintain public order and safety.”

11.The MNDF exercised authority under chapter nine of the constitution and the Armed Forces Act of 2008 to take the judge into custody.He denied that the judge’s detention was unconstitutional.Afeef observed that those accused of causing the current unrest and destroying public property were swiftly being released by the judges, thus encouraging more unrest.

12.The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) proposed a bill to amend the Courts Act (22/2010) which would reduce the number of judges on both the benches of the Supreme Court and the High Court if passed.

13. Following heated arguments between MsP belonging to the ruling party and the opposition in the National Security Committee of the Parliament on the arrest of the Chief Judge, the National Security Committee session was abruptly dissolved and there were violent clashes between the protesters who demanded the release of the Chief judge and the government supporters.These violent clashes, which started on the night of February 4, continued on the nights of February 5 and 6 also.On the morning of February 7, about 100 officers of the Police and the MNDF joined the protesters and demaned the resignation of the President, forcing him to resign.After the resignation of the President, the arrested Chief Judge was released.

14.The current situation could not be compared to the situation in 1988 when there was a threat to internal security due to the intervention of pro-LTTE elements from outside. Finding that his forces would not be able to meet the threat, the then President Gayoom sought Indian assistance from the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Indian forces intervened and restored law and order.

15.The threat to internal security this time was due to violent clashes involving members of the security forces and civilian protesters because of the anger over the arrest of the Chief Judge. While the resignation of the elected President under pressure exercised by a group of officers of the Police and the MNDF, who joined hands with protesters of the opposition, was deplorable, Nasheed himself, who had mishandled the situation by giving rise to suspicion that he was planning to pack the judiciary with his nominees, seemed to have felt that any external intervention to help him overcome the mutineers would be indvisable. Under these circumstances, the question of any Indian intervention did not arise. (7-2-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com. Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )



10:40 A.M Some officers of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) join anti-President Nasheed demonstrators in Republic Square in Male.Protesters claim MNDF officers have arrested President Nasheed. President’s spokesmen deny this.

10:45 – Many shops and businesses, including the Maldives National Bank close their offices in Male fearing attacks by protesters.

11:12 – Opposition protesters and some anti-Nasheed police officers take over the Maldives National Broadcasting Commission (MNBC) station and start broadcasting/telecasting anti-Nasheed statements.

11:22 – The headquarters of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) set on fire.

11:41 – The protesters issue President Mohamed Nasheed ultimatums to resign.

11:47 – Government spokesperson alleges that the country is undergoing an attempted coup.

12:13 – President’s office denies widespread reports that Nasheed has resigned. Army spokesman claim the President has resigned.A scheduled press conference by the President is not held.