An angry mob entered the Maldives national football stadium on Tuesday morning and disrupted the International Yoga Day celebrations which were being held by the Maldives government in association with the Indian Cultural Center.
BREAKING: Dramatic video from the Maldives show a group of extremists disrupting Yoga Day celebrations in the capital Male. pic.twitter.com/VuPvfxJLWc
— BNN 🇲🇻 Newsroom (@medrivaMV) June 21, 2022
The police were forced to use tear gas canisters to disperse the unruly mob following which the situation escalated into a physical altercation, news agency BNN Newsroom reported.
An investigation has been launched by @PoliceMv into the incident that happened this morning at Galolhu stadium.
This is being treated as a matter of serious concern and those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law.
— Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (@ibusolih) June 21, 2022
Maldives president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said an enquiry into the incident was ordered. He said via a tweet that the Maldivian government is treating this issue with utmost concern.
“An investigation has been launched by @PoliceMv into the incident that happened this morning at Galolhu stadium. This is being treated as a matter of serious concern and those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law,” Solih tweeted.
The Maldives’ ministry of youth, sports and community empowerment teamed up with the Indian Cultural Center to organize a meditation and Yoga session at the Galolhu stadium on Tuesday.
Videos shared on social media showed miscreants armed with sticks and flags charging towards people who were practicing yoga and meditation on their yoga mats.
The videos shared also showed some miscreants in the mob charging towards the participants with flagpoles as police attempted to restrain them.
The organizers of the event faced hurdles before holding the event as the Male City Council declined permission for the event to be held at the Rasfannu artificial beach. The city council said there were complaints from the ‘public’ who were opposed to the idea of the event being held there.
A report from Maldivian news agency The Edition said that a section of Islamists believe performing yoga is akin to worshiping the sun – an heretic act as per Islamic tradition.
Yoga in the Maldives is a hot-button issue for orthodox Muslims who have polarized opinions regarding the spiritual discipline which have benefitted millions across the globe.
It remains unclear whether those protesters were affiliated with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and its leader Abdullah Yameen, the former president whom many view as a China-puppet.
Yameen was the architect of the ‘India Out’ campaign which is seen as a move to spoil Maldives-India ties using the help of Islamists.
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) earlier drafted a legislation to criminalize anti-India protests as anti-national while concluding that India always jumped to help Maldives whenever the island-nation faced crisis and is also crucial to its food security.
(with inputs from The Edition and BNN Newsroom)