Indian gynecologist attacked by masked men on Hoarafushi

An Indian gynecologist working at Hoarafushi Health Centre in Haa Alifu Atoll has said she will “never come back to the Maldives” after two masked islanders attacked and gagged her.

“They broke in to my room with their faces covered, holding knives, and they tried to attack me,” the doctor told Minivan News. “I could only see their eyes. It was like the worst nightmare I have ever seen.”

The doctor said at first she tried to escape by shouting, but then the men tried to cover her mouth and tie a rope to her neck.

“I dialed the last dialed number on my phone and it was the health centre. When the health centre answered the phone the attackers snatched it from my hands and switched it off, but luckily the person who answered heard me screaming.”

The doctor said she fought with the men and was able to escape.

“I held their knife and pushed them back, then jumped out of the window and screamed for help,” the doctor said. “Then they ran away.”

The doctor said it was the “worst experience I have ever had” and that she would “never ever come back to the Maldives.”

“I’ll even advise my friends and my students not to choose Maldives,” she said. “I mean why should they do this? I did my best to serve the people here, why should they do this to me?”

The doctor said she had no idea what had motivated the pair to attack her, and said she was emotionally, mentally and physically hurt in the incident.

Deputy chair of the island council Ali Riyaz, who told Minivan News he was the first to attend the scene, said the incident was “regrettable”.

Riyaz said he first heard of the incident when the doctor phoned a councilor during a council meeting last night at 9:50pm.

“I went to her room immediately and called the police,” Riyaz said. “Her room is very close to the Council Office and we rushed there very quickly. When we knocked on the door she did not open it because she was so frightened.”

Once the councilors had convinced the doctor who they were, “she came outside and started crying. She was injured,” Riyaz said. “She said two men with their faces covered entered her room and attacked her.”

Riyaz said the doctor had told them not to do this to her and that she was like a sister to them.

“She even told them to take any amount of money they wanted, and also to take any electronics including her laptop if they wanted, without attacking her.”

Police had arrested 11 people following the incident, Riyaz said.

“Two of them were the two men suspected by the police, and the other nine were those who went [to police] of their own accord because they have past crime records and they wanted to show that they had no hand in this incident,” Riyaz said.

The doctor was the only specialist working in the Hoarafushi Health Centre and the only gynecologist in the entire atoll. Riyaz said her departure would be “a great loss” for the atoll.

“She had decided to leave Maldives some time ago,” he said. “She was a great doctor and is loved by many islanders across the atoll.”

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that police had arrested two promising suspects, although he said their motives remained unclear.

The community had been very supportive of the police investigation and were taking care of the doctor, he said: “The heart of the whole island is with her.”