Maldives: Former President Nasheed slams Yameen's 'informal ban' on work permits to Indians 

Mohamed Nasheed Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Delhi, India Jun 16, 2018, 10.34 AM (IST) Siddhant Sibal

Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has slammed President Yameen's unofficial ban on Indians getting work permits in the Maldives. In an exclusive conversation with WION, he said that such action will "have negative implications for the Maldives since Indians are the majority technical workforce". He said "when President Yameen goes ahead and bans visas, it has an impact on the tourism industry. It cant be tolerated and it must stop".

Male has imposed an 'informal ban' on work permits to Indians. The ban has been imposed since the last 3 months.

This came to light when Alexander Blair, General manager of the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, requested for an Indian Chef without an Indian passport.

"The Maldives finest address has an opportunity for an outstanding Indian speciality chef. Unfortunately, with the current situation that work permits are not being granted to Indian Nationals, we are ideally searching for an Indian who is holding another passport or is the spouse of a Maldivian," he said on LinkedIn.

Several Indians are expected to be impacted by this 'informal ban'. Indians are the second largest expatriate community in the Maldives with an approximate strength of around 22,000 people. 

India must step in 

The former Maldives President has been critical of the Yameen government saying that the situation in his country is worrying. He said "we have a situation where President Yameen has arrested every single opposition leader during last two years. We have four political opposition parties. He has arrested his VP, two defence ministers, two police chiefs, Chief Justice of Supreme Court, his own brother, his nephew. He has dismantled the Supreme Court and the judiciary. The military has occupied the Parliament. The situation is worrying. The country has changed to an authoritarian system."

Chief justice of Supreme court and former President Gayoom were sentenced last week. India has reacted sharply to this latest development. 

New Delhi said that it is deeply dismay by the sentence handed over to former President of the Maldives as well as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court without a fair trial. India said that it casts doubt on the commitment of the Government of the Maldives to uphold the rule of law and will also call into question the credibility of the entire process of Presidential elections in September this year.

He called for India's intervention saying that India must robustly step in to make sure the elections are free and fair. The Maldives goes to elections on 23rd September.


China's influence

But he believes China is to blame for the current situation. He said that "The Maldives has drifted towards China and fallen into Chinese debt trap. China has grabbed more land than east India company during the colonial times". 

He added that "China has strengthened President Yameen's hand in suppressing  the internal democratic process and is using the Maldives debt as a disciplining agent."

Returning Indian helicopters under Chinese pressure

And confirming what has been long reported, he said the Maldives is returning Indian Helicopters under "Chinese pressure". He said "we came into power in 2008. We invited Indian government to station two helicopters in the country... they were used for emergency evacuations... for that purpose alone. The government is pressed by external forces to remove these helicopters. My view is Chinese government is using debt as a leverage to remove these helicopters."

The 4th President of the Maldives Nasheed was convicted under anti-terror laws. The Maldives SC overturned his conviction on February 1. The Yameen government dismissed the order and removed the judges throwing the country into more political crisis. 

Story highlights

Male has imposed an 'informal ban' on work permits to Indians. The ban has been imposed since the last 3 months

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