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To stay or not: India leaves it to Nasheed

Anirban Bhaumik, NEW DELHI, Feb 18, 2013, DHNS 1:26 IST

Maldives issues fresh warrant against ex-prez

In this photograph taken on August 31, 2012, former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed addresses journalists in Male. Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed said on February 13, 2013, he had taken refuge inside the Indian High Commission in his country's capital after a magistrate ordered his arrest. The decision comes amid more political turbulence in the Indian Ocean holiday destination almost exactly a year since Nasheed, a former pro-democracy campaigner, was ousted by violent demonstrations and a mutiny by security forces. AFP PHOTO/

Even as the Maldives on Monday asked India to allow its police to arrest the island nation’s former president Mohamed Nasheed, New Delhi is likely to leave it to himself to decide if he would stay on in the Indian High Commission in Male or go out to face court proceedings.

New Delhi, however, believes that Nasheed’s prolonged stay at the High Commission of India in Male might not help him politically.

After a court in the Maldives once again asked police to produce Nasheed before it for a hearing on Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the archipelagic nation’s government asked New Delhi to facilitate the arrest of the former president, who has since February 13 last taken shelter in the High Commission of India in Male.

New Delhi, however, is unlikely to ask Nasheed to get out of its High Commission and face arrest, but would rather leave it to him to decide his future course of action.
According to the sources, New Delhi cannot ask Nasheed to leave the High Commission since he is a former president of his country and is at present a guest of India.

New Delhi also believes that Maldivian Democratic Party leader could not escape from the court proceedings in his country for an indefinite period; particularly since he had plans to contest the presidential polls scheduled to take place on September 7 next and would have to launch campaign.

Counter-productive

Indian officials believe that a prolonged stay in the High Commission of India might be politically counter-productive for Nasheed, but, according to the sources, New Delhi would leave it to the former Maldivian president himself to assess the situation and take a call.

Nasheed, who stepped down a year ago, walked into the Indian High Commission in Male on February 13 — just after a court issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with a case related to his alleged role in the detention of the Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed. A stand-off followed, with police taking position outside the Indian High Commission at Henveiru locality in Male.

Though the February 13 arrest warrant against Nasheed expired the same day, the Hulhumale’ Court issued a fresh directive to police to produce him before it next Wednesday.

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