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India ignoring facts and ground realities: Maldives Foreign Minister

By Vikas
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    Maldives' Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the Indian Government has ignored the 'facts and ground realities' in the country. Maldives's reaction came after India expressed concern over political situation in the island nation. India had urged the President Abdulla Yameen's government in Maldives to restore democracy in the country.

    Maldives President Abdulla Yameen

    "Govt of Maldives takes note of public statements issued by Govt of India that ignore the facts and ground realities with regard to the ongoing political developments in the Maldives," news agency ANI quoted Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maldives, as saying.

    "The assertion by the Govt of India that the extension of the State of Emergency by the People's Majlis was unconstitutional is a clear distortion of facts, which ignore the Constitution and Laws of the Maldives," the Maldives Minister further said.

    The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday urged the President Abdulla Yameen's government in Maldives to restore democracy in the country and "release political prisoners". The MEA's reaction came after Yameen extended the state of emergency by another 30 days on Tuesday. 

    "India didn't see "any valid reason" for extension of emergency. We continue to watch the situation and continue to urge the govt of Maldives to release political prisoners, release Chief Justice, implementation SC orders and restore normal functioning of institutions of democracy," the MEA statement said.

    "It is our sincere desire to see democracy in Maldives is restored and situation returns to normal. This we feel is also the desire of the people of Maldives. We are dismayed the Maldives government has extended emergency for a further period of 30 days," the statement added.

    President Yameen declared the emergency on February 5 after the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials.

    [Maldives crisis: US disappointed over extension of emergency]

    Among them was exiled ex-President Mohamed Nasheed. The court said his 2015 trial had been unconstitutional. Only 38 MPs were present for the vote, which took place hours before the state of emergency was due to expire, despite 43 lawmakers being needed for the vote to take place as required by the Constitution, Maldives Independent news website reported. All 38 were from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives and they all approved the extension, it said.

    The opposition boycotted the vote. The state of emergency will now end on March 22. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal in an editorial expressed concern over increasing Chinese influence in this island nation.

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