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Maldives
The Maldivian experience and expectations are different and not-so-different at the same time. The state attaching the ‘terror’ tag to every crime, violent as on May Day, or non-violent, as the Nasheed case may have entailed, would not make a ‘political’ act or protest, ‘an act of terror’, as seen by the nation’s law, rather belatedly writes N. Sathiya Moorthy
 

Vote a government in. Give them a year of two. Take to the streets. Mount pressure, topple the elected leader and change the government. Rinse and repeat as needed. Maldivians seem to have taken to this formula like a duck to water. This has to stop.

 
  It is one of the principles by which democracy will be protected. That the Judiciary the Legislative and the Executive do not interfere with each other’s functioning. The very crisis we face today is because of the alleged breach of that principle.
 

On Sunday, former President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, was arrested. The arrest warrant issued by Criminal Court stated “terrorism charges brought against the subject and fears that he may not attend the Court or go into hiding” as reason for arrest.

 

The Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) has proposed the first amendment to the constitution, seeking to bar individuals aged 65 years and above from standing for the presidency.

 

The United Nations in the Maldives has commended relief efforts during the Malé water crisis, though the opposition has attacked the governments preparedness and subsequent handling of events.

 

Two Indian military aircrafts have on Friday afternoon arrived in the Maldives with 50 tonnes of bottled water to help Male’ City residents cope with sever water shortage.

 
  During his inauguration one year ago President Abdulla Yameen said: “I take over the presidency of the Maldives today with a vision of tomorrow and new dreams, heralding new thoughts, giving new hopes to the people”.  
 
It was in this emerging context of fragmented religious discourses and different religious interpretations that the regime of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom suppressed both those who embraced Salafi interpretations of Sharia and those drawn toward more pluralist Sharia. It is in this context – now characterised by extreme political and social uncertainties – that one of the most prominent Maldivian religious scholars, Dr Afrasheem Ali, was murdered in October 2012. It was also in this same context that my friend, journalist, and human rights activist Ahmed Rilwan disappeared six weeks ago.    
 

The experiences of the Maldives and the Arab Spring countries highlight the difficulty of embedding democracy in Muslim nations that have long been governed by authoritarian regimes. Overthrowing the dictator is hard enough, but for democrats, securing the long-term gains of the revolution is proving more challenging.

 


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