Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen has argued that the most prominent form of extremism in the Maldives is the encroachment upon people’s rights, rather than religious radicalism.
Yameen met with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during a visit to the country Friday (August 16), as part of the state’s ongoing engagement with all Maldivian political parties ahead of the September 7 presidential election.
In response to Indian officials raising concerns about potential radical rhetoric in the Maldives, Yameen acknowledged that extremism “exists to some extent” and is a challenge faced by the PPM. Yameen recounted this conversation during a PPM press conference held in Male’ yesterday (August 19).
“We do face the problem of extremism to some extent and the extremism that exists here isn’t necessarily religious extremism,” Yameen recalled telling Prime Minister Singh.
“What really exists here is extremism of encroaching on other people’s rights,” he added.
Yameen explained to the Prime Minister that the Maldivian people suffer serious damage to their houses and property as a result of this type of extremism.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Singh expressed his hope that September’s presidential election will be free and fair, followed by a smooth transition, reported India’s Economic Times.
Singh also emphasised the need to ensure an understanding that the outcome of the election is recognised by all parties without reprisals, to which Yameen reportedly agreed.
Yameen thanked the prime minister for the support India has provided the Maldives and expressed a desire for the unique bonds between both countries continue to grow and prosper.
The PPM presidential hopeful also offered assurances that he would assist in creating a conducive atmosphere for Indian investment in the Maldives.
However, Yameen told local media that the terminated GMR agreement “did not come up” during his visit to India.
The Indian infrastructure giant has filed a claim seeking US$1.4 billion in compensation from the Maldives, following the government’s sudden termination of its concession agreement to manage and upgrade Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).
Yameen – the half brother of 30-year autocratic ruler, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – was accompanied by a six-person delegation during his official visit to India. These delegation included three of Gayoom’s children – Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon; Minister of State for Human Resources, Youth and Sports Mohamed Ghassaan Maumoon; and PPM Council Member Ahmed Faris Maumoon.
Additional delegation members included PPM Vice President and Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ahmed Adheeb; PPM campaign manager and MP Moosa Zameer; as well as PPM MP Abdulla Maseeh.
Prime Minister Singh’s meeting with Yameen comes on the heels of former president and current Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed’s official visit to India.
Nasheed, who resigned the presidency during the February 2012 political crisis, has claimed “powerful networks” of Gayoom loyalists were responsible for his ousting after sections of the police and military mutinied against him.