The SAARC monument designed and gifted to the Maldives by the Sri Lankan government, has been doused with crude oil.
The lion statue, representing the national symbol of Sri Lanka, was vandalised last night following the toppling, burning and theft of the Pakistani monument, which protesters had claimed was idolatrous.
Council Member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Ahmed ‘Marz’ Saleem, meanwhile today filed a case with police against the Maldives Customs Department for allowing ‘idols’ to be imported to the Maldives for the SAARC Summit.
The PPM is the party founded by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, following its acrimonious split with the major opposition party, the Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP).
Speaking to Minivan News today, Saleem said that four acts in the Maldives banned the importation of idols, and that the Customs Department should be held responsible for letting the statues be imported into the country.
”It violates the Police Act, Customs Act, Contraband Act and the Religious Unity Act,” he contested.
“I reported the case to the police because it is a criminal offence which has to be investigated by police and sent to the Prosecutor General, to be taken to court according to Maldivian law,” Saleem said. ”We looked into the matter of these idols and found out that these things were not made here, which means they much have been imported from somewhere else.”
He said that displaying the items in public “is another offence. Citizens who love the religion of Islam will not allow such items to kept in public, and will seek to destroy them.”
”Police will have no lawful authority to stop citizens from destroying the idols, because they are illegal and against Islam,” he said, adding that the PPM has filed a second case in the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) demanding investigation of whoever gave orders for police to defend the monuments when citizens went out to destroy them.
”We requested the PIC investigate and find out who exactly gave the orders, who implemented the orders, and to take action against them,” he said.
He also alleged that the current government was attempting “to erase Islam from the country.”
”The current government dissolved the Quran Department, Arabiyya School and women’s mosques, all to erase the religion of Islam,” Saleem alleged.
Spokesperson for the Customs Department, Mohamed Ibrahim, did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam meanwhile confirmed that a case against the Customs Department was filed with police.