Male detains India scribe

Journalist had violated immigration laws: Maldives police

By Our Special Correspondent and Reuters
  • Published 10.02.18
Maldivian police officers push back Opposition supporters in Male on Friday during a protest demanding that the government release jailed leaders. (Reuters)

New Delhi: An Indian journalist and a British scribe of Indian origin were detained by the Maldives government on Friday on charges of violating immigration laws.

The detention came as the island nation continued with the Emergency which was declared by President Abdulla Yameen on Monday.

The Maldivian media reported that the Indian journalist, Money Sharma from Punjab, and Atish Patel from London were both AFP employees.

Till late on Friday night, AFP had not commented on the detention of its employees.

According to a statement issued by the Maldives Police, "Two journalists (a British national and an Indian national) have been handed over to the Immigration authorities to take action against them for working in Maldives against Maldives Immigration Act and Regulations."

Last night, the Maldivian government had ordered the closure of the Raajje TV channel as part of the ongoing crackdown on all criticism.

Asked about the arrest, the external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "We have received information about an Indian national, Money Sharma, working as a journalist, who has been detained by the Maldivian authorities. We have asked our embassy to get in touch with the local authorities to ascertain more details of the case."

Maldives has apparently asked Beijing to help maintain the security of Chinese investments in the island nation.

Reacting to these reports, Kumar said: "We note that China has said that Maldives government has the ability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in Maldives. We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in Maldives, instead of doing the opposite."

Constructive role

The international community should play a constructive role in promoting stability in the Maldives, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told a visiting envoy from the troubled Indian Ocean island state.

Yameen has sent envoys to friendly nations such as China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to brief them on a political crisis that prompted him to impose a state of emergency.

Meeting in Beijing on Thursday, Wang told economic development minister Mohamed Saeed that China believes the Maldives government have the "wisdom and ability to appropriately handle the issue facing them and return the country to normal order in accordance with the law", China's foreign ministry said.