Bill on ‘India Out’: Will drafting the bill decentralized the situation?

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President’s office submitted a list of 36 bills to the parliament.Out of which 12 will be enacted as new laws while the other 22 will have new amendments to the existing laws.

Currently, the parliament is working on the bill to amend the Judges Act. The new amendments will allow female judges six months of maternity leave.Also, the final decision will be made today regarding the drafting of the bill to counter ‘India Out’ campaigns by the opposition.

Issues relating to the campaign was first red flagged by former President and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed. He submitted the issue to the Parliament’s Security Services Committee (241 Committee) on Jan 24. Nasheed stated that the campaign hosted by the opposition poses national threat and also expressed that many Maldivians living in India are feeling threatened by the campaign as per the intel received by him. He further added that the purpose of raising this issue will help determine the amount of damage dealt to the Maldives from such an activity organized against a bilateral nation.

A political party can be criticized, or a specific personality can be criticized. But it is important for the commission to discuss or conduct a research on how an organized campaign by the opposition in Maldives against a bilateral partner could change its perception of and treatment of Maldives,” he said.

Addressing to the issue submitted to the committee, it was decided on Feb 7 that research will be conducted into the implications in relation to the campaign.

Leader of MDP’s parliamentary group MP Ali Azim said that discussions were underway and that decision will be made today, Feb 9 during the Parliamentary group’s meeting.

On the other side, opposition leader and former President Abdulla Yaameen Abdul Gayoom is adamant regarding his party and supporters campaign. Says that ‘India Out’ campaign is in line with the right to freedom of expression, hence there is no way to stop it.

Noting that the MDP has a parliament majority, with the party winning the latest by-election held on Saturday to fill the seat of the Komandoo constituency. Yameen said that even if the bill is passed, the campaign will not be stopped. Infact, enacting of the new law will further strengthen the motive of the people who are in support of the cause, he said.

The opposition claims that Indian military personnel being stationed in the Maldives is a threat to the country’s national security. Hence, the ‘India Out’ move was initiated by Yameen and has gathered many followers over the years who shares the same ideology as him.

The campaign can also be seen criticized by many. The government, MDP and other political parties which belongs to the government coalition has strongly shown support to Nasheed’s view and has called out against the campaign.