The number of individuals arrested from Malé city for eating during daylight hours in Ramadan has decreased by 83 percent when compared to 2013, reveals police statistics.
Only five were arrested in the first two weeks of Ramdan for eating while 31 cases were reported in the same period last year. According to the police, two cases of eating during daylight hours were reported every day last year.
Consumption of food without a reasonable excuse during Ramadan is prosecuted as a criminal offense in the Maldives.
The cases are usually proved with testimonies of eye witnesses or the perpetrator. Those guilty are fined with MVR 150 for “disobedience to orders” under article 88 (a) of the Penal Code.
Three men were arrested on the first day of Ramadan (June 29) for smoking cigarettes while fasting. All three had criminal records. One of them was caught inside a public toilet. That same week, another man was caught eating on the stairs of his apartment building and suspected drugs were also found on the latter.
On July 1, a 37-year-old man was arrested for eating dates from a breakfast table at a Male’ mosque, just before sunset. Police told local media he had also smoked a cigarette after eating from the mosque.
In April, a man who had been caught smoking a cigarette during Ramadan in Malé was fined and in July another man was fined for chewing arecanuts during daylight hours.
A police spokesperson told Minivan News that arrests are made based on reports or if police witness individuals eating in public spaces. The police will attend to cases where people are reported to have eaten in a private place.
Both the Maldives Police Services and Islamic Scholars are creating more public awareness in order to reduce such crimes, the police said.