Almost a dozen Indian teachers on Kumundhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll have either resigned from their posts or requested transfers to another island following the assault of a colleague on school premises last week, diplomatic officials have confirmed.
Diplomatic sources said Indian High Commissioner Rajeev Shahare was meanwhile in the process of arranging talks with Maldivian education authorities to discuss the issue of teacher safety.
The Indian High Commission in the Maldives told Minivan News it received requests from eight Indian nationals currently working as teachers on Kumundhoo to be transferred to another island over concerns about their safety.
According to the commission, two other expatriate teachers on the island have also handed in their resignation after physics teacher Neelakantan Pappukutty Subash Kumar was assaulted in the school on May 14 by an angry mob accusing him of hitting a student in the chest.
One expatriate teacher on the island, who has since handed in their resignation, was also claimed to have received minor injuries trying to prevent the assault, an Indian diplomatic official told Minivan News this week.
Despite the concerns about teacher safety, the high commission said yesterday (May 19) that the response of the education ministry had so far been “positive” in terms of their handling of the attack on the Indian national.
Kumundhoo Island Councilor Ali Anwar claimed on May 15 that islanders had destroyed a a power distribution unit outside the school to cut off its electricity, before then entering and attacking the teacher, despite efforts by staff to try and prevent the assault.
So far eight suspects are being held in police custody over the attack, police confirmed today.
After being initially hospitalised after the assault, Kumar’s condition is not thought to be critical. The high commission has claimed the teacher was now waiting for the Education Ministry to renew his work visa that expired last month, so that he can be returned to India for treatment.
A “mutual time” was also being sought for High Commissioner Shahare to meet with the country’s education officials to discuss the issue of “better security” for expatriate teachers.
Minivan News was awaiting a response from the Ministry of Education at time of press.
Despite the high commission’s praise for the education ministry this week, one Indian diplomatic source said following the attack that the injured teacher’s treatment continued to highlight ongoing concerns over the Maldives’ treatment of foreign workers.
These concerns were said to be based around issues such as the retention of passports and travel documents by private and state employers.
“The fact remains that [Kumar’s] work permit has not been renewed. He was a government employee – they should have renewed his documents before they expired, not afterwards,” the diplomatic source said last week. ”This [issue] has been going on for over one and a half years now.”
A senior Indian doctor in the Maldives has also previously alleged that expatriate professionals regullarly face intimidation and fraud in the country from employers and the public.