Comment: Blame game hardly solves problems

Lance Corporal Adam Halym of Maldives Police Service was on his way to start a new shift, leaving his baby daughter and loving wife at home, when he was mercilessly knifed and murdered in a dark alley leading to Kaashidhoo Police Station. He never returned home.

I strongly condemn the heinous crime of killing an officer of the law and as well the eight innocent people, whose blood was spilled before him. Thoughts, prayers and well wishes are with all those victims family at time of this great tragedy.

While the families and public is grappling with the aftermath of this ongoing carnage, much more appalling than the gruesome murder of the police officer is the notorious blame game started by the politicians. It took one or two hours tops before prominent political figures, most of them holding key portfolios in current government, to sinisterly twist the tragedy and manipulate in ways that it advantageous to their own political stand or disadvantageous to their political opponents. The former president Mohamed Nasheed and his party MDP  was on the receiving end of much of the accusations.

On twitter Ahmed Mahloof, MP for Galolhu Dhekunu Constituency, was amongst the first to break the news by posting a tweet saying “Innaalillahi vainna ilaihi raajioon” (a Quranic verse Muslims recite upon hearing the news of someone’s death) and ” mikamuge zinmaa seedha MDP nagan jeheyne”(MDP should directly take the responsibility of this)” along with a hyperlink to the news story on the Haveeru website.

Among many other tweets that followed, government-aligned Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) MP Mahloof emphatically blamed Nasheed and the MDP. One tweet when translated reads, “What we are seeing is the democracy Nasheedh and MDP wanted to bring to this country” while the another tweet reads: “We are seeing the result of Nasheed and MDP calling to attack police and military officers non stop.”

One hour into Mahloof’s tweets President Waheed himself posted a tweet saying “Strongly condemn the killing of a policeman while on duty. Enough of hate mongering against officers of the Law.”

In a subsequent tweet  an hour later the president emoted: “No excuses to kill anyone let alone policemen on duty. Shame on cowards hiding behind anonymity and inciting violence.” While he does not elobarate on who the “anonymous” is,  his counterparts have clarified it well with their own facts: Nasheed and MDP killed LCPL Adam Halym.

Here is what the Minister of Home Affairs said:

Not just that, while the President, his ministers, and other key government officials were all commotional on twitter, Dr Ibrahim Didi, Qasim Ibrahim and Abdullah Jabir – belonging to Jumhoree Party of Dr Waheed’s unity government – were doing their fair share of the blame game on VTV during late hours of last night.  They reiterated the crux of the above mentioned tweets, blaming Nasheed and his party.

I am taken aback by the heedless audacity of especially government officials to create a diversion from the real issue, by using the oldest tactic in the book: the blame game. Every second spent accusing Nasheed and the MDP is a second wasted by the current government to address the cause of the  issue. At a time when the government is expected to take proactive and immediate measure to ensure the safety and security of the people of Maldives they are engrossed in politically assassinating their opposition party and its presidential candidate for the murder of LCP Adam Halym.

In the very press statement from police about the brutal murder of Adam Halym it was clearly stated that a suspect was brought under custody. The police already had a lead. Local media concurrently identified the killer as Mohamed Samah from the same island.

Only hours later more details were reported on local media shedding light on the attack and the killer: Samah has a criminal record for aggravated assault among other crimes and was also released  from police detention to house confinement the previous day.

The police have not revealed that Nasheed, the MDP or for that matter any political party had a role in the murder of Adam Halym: but from the few reports surfacing in the media, we can draw a conclusion that it was indeed a a preventable crime carried out by a dangerous criminal who found his murderous opportunity through a loophole in the very system that is intended to keep his like at bay.

But these facts did not get in the way of the vociferous accusations echoed by the self declared political pundits, nor did it stop MDP from making counterblasts over social networks, spreading picture of the suspected killer alleging that he was in fact from the government-aligned PPM’s members.

One of the most noticeable remarks was made on Facebook by former Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed:

While Dr Shaheed has rightly indicated to what really lead to the murder of LCPL Adam Halym, it would be unfair not to say he has again shot the blame at Home Minister. Doesn’t only a judge have the jurisdiction to release a criminal from police custody to house arrest? So why blame the Home Minister who has no direct authority under the current legal framework to release a criminal from police custody to house arrest?

Why are not we questioning which court or judge released Samah, only to kill a police officer in less than 24 hours?  Has the judiciary failed us again and this time we had  to pay with the life of an officer of the law? If it wasn’t a judge, who gave the authority to police to move the criminal?

These are fundamental questions that lurks around the murder of Adam Halym that neeed to be answered by the police, before we engross ourselves in this “you killed him” game, helping no one except fuelling the opportunistic politicians ready to feed on humanity when it suits them.

At difficult times like this, we humans might blindly seek solace in band aid solutions like the death penalty. Implementing dealth penalty right now in Maldives would only be a coping mechanism that would would provide a temporary relief to the community but leave the root cause of the problem untouched.

It was just few days ago that the whole nation came to a standstill over the murder of lawyer Najeeb. Najeeb’s murderer has said in court that he was inebriated at the time of killing.

Afterwards when his faculties were back to normal and realised what he had done, he cried  in regret.  Moving onto LCPL Adam Halym’s murder, what are the chances Samah too was intoxicated during the murder? More importantly would implementing death penalty prevent an angry, intoxicated person from murdering someone? Since drugs have become the root cause of all mischief in Maldives, and since the punishment under Islam for spreading mischief on Earth is capital punishment, isn’t it more just and appropriate to sentence drug lords to death?

Half of the youth population are enslaved to these substances marketed by these “untouchable” drug lords. They have destroyed lives of thousands of youth and their families. More will follow if we do not stop the menace and provide better opportunities for the younger generation.

Samah found his chance to kill LCPL Adam Halym through a loophole in the judiciary. Therefore when God has specifically prescribed in Quran “ Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law” how can we entrust the current judiciary, with its major loopholes, to rule “by way of justice and law”? For God’s sake, prerequisites laws to implement the death penalty do not even exist in Maldives as of yet and who knows when they will be passed. Let’s be realistic.

We know that Islam stipulates strict conditions that prevent arbitrary administration of any penalty, no matter how mild it is. The Prophet Mohamed has instructed us to“Avert punishments if suspicions arise”. According to Dr Hamdy Murad, an Islamic thinker and Professor of Sharia at Al-Balqa Applied University, “Suspicion means that for any offence that cannot proved 100 percent, so to speak, punishments should be averted.”

In the case of Murrath and Hana, the couple who murdered lawyer Najeeb who were sentenced to death with a fortnight, isn’t there room for suspicion? Did no one hear the girl say she did not kill him and was sleeping while her boyfriend did it?

Besides, should we not question why a convicted criminal like Murrath – who was suppose to be in jail – and Samaah, a criminal with a record of multiple assaults – was out of the streets instead of confinement?

In the wake of such tragic events, it is tempting to blame someone for the pain simply because it absolves the person from shouldering any responsibility. But, one must not forget the most effective tool we can utilise for hate mongering is these slanderous accusations. It never yields solution or heals the scars, but fuels more hatred and divisions in the community.

More than ever, we as a nation need to skip this blame game and find solutions to address the real issues that have jeopardised the very fundamental human right our people have: the right to life.

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