MNP: Govt. held yoga event without concern for the safety of participants

A capture from a press conference held by Maldives National Party (MNP). (Sun Photo/Naail Hussain)

Maldives National Party (MNP) has stated that the government decided to hold the ‘Yoga Day’ event at Galolhu National Stadium on Tuesday without concern for the safety of its participants.

The ‘Yoga Day’ event was hosted by Youth Ministry in collaboration with Indian Cultural Centre.

Ambassador of India to the Maldives Munu Mahawar, diplomats and senior officials from the Maldivian government alongside members of the general public were doing yoga at Galolhu National Stadium when the premise was stormed by a group of people.

The group which stormed the stadium were carrying flags containing verses from the Shahada. They threatened, attacked the participants and vandalized the property.

In a statement released condemning the act, MNP underscored that they believed when concluding to hold an event against the wishes of the public, it must be executed more responsibly. Stressing that there were signals of violence breaking out at the event within the past few days, the party stressed that police had not been adequately prepared for such a circumstance.

“Pointing out that police had not been adequately prepared although there had been talks amongst public and social media indicating the possibility of violence at the event and it was absolutely clear that many people were against holding the event,” they had said.

Stating that using religion for political gains was absolutely unacceptable – MNP urged people doing so to stop wielding religion as a weapon for political gains.

When the stadium was first stormed – only a few police officers were maintaining security on the premise. They had used pepper spray to subdue the rioters. 

A Police Spokesperson told Sun that six individuals have been arrested over the case – which is being investigated as a serious matter.