India appeals for calm in Maldives

Male: India today appealed to all political parties and socio-political organisations in Maldives to maintain peace and calm and cooperate in the efforts to maintain law and order. Expressing serious concern over the recent escalation of tensions in Maldives, Indian High Commission underlined the need for all the parties to work together in the spirit of cooperation and reconciliation to resolve all the outstanding issues.

As supporters of deposed President Mohamed Nasheed continued protests demanding early election, the Maldives government today blamed him for inciting violence. A statement from President Mohamed Waheed`s office said supporters of the former president were disrupting law and order, blocking traffic, and harassing road users.

"The recent escalation of tensions in Maldives is a matter of serious concern. The High Commission of India appeals to all political Parties and socio-political organisations to maintain peace and calm and cooperate in the efforts to maintain law and order," a statement from the Commission said.

"In this context, it is important that setting aside their differences, the parties should hold talks to ameliorate the current situation so that day to day life of Maldivian people is not affected adversely," it said. The statement comes at a time when the All Party Roadmap Talks, the India-facilitated talks to try and break the political deadlock following the controversial ousting of President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, have remained in deadlock for over a month.

The presidential office, meanwhile, said that Nasheed and his MDP supporters have vowed to continue with the protest until an election date is announced despite reposing faith in the Commission of Inquiry that is looking into the events of February. "… discussion on early election would be parked until the Commission`s finding, as there is no constitutional, legal or even political basis to call for early election if the transfer of power was lawful," it said.

It said Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed`s car was set on fire and destroyed by the protesters. "The protests have caused injuries to several police officers. Many more on patrol have been attacked and their communication and other equipment have been stolen. One police officer has suffered loss of memory when a brick thrown by a protester hit him," the statement said. It said police was observing maximum restraint while containing the protest.