Home Minister denies allegations of religious influence within police force

Home Minister Imran Abdulla has denied claims that the police force was influenced by extremist ideologies.

At the Parliament on Tuesday, Minister Imran was questioned by several parliamentarians over the police's alleged failure to address issues of extremism in the Maldives.

Denying the claims, Minister Imran said he does not believe the issues remain unaddressed due to extremist ideologies being practiced by police officers. Imran further stressed that he refused to believe the police had failed in addressing issues.

"Extremist acts have been recurring since 2007. I do admit we have not been able to effectively address these issues. However, it is not only the responsibility of the police, it can only be achieved when all state entities work jointly," said Imran.

Minister Imran revealed that the ministry was working with senior officers of Maldives Police Service to identify if extremist ideologies were being spread within the police force. Authorities will not give room for such actions, said the minister.

Imran said there is no obstruction to police officers in enforcing the law, and that several efforts had been undertaken to combat terrorism under the recent amendments to Anti-Terrorism laws. Several people who support and encourage terrorism have been arrested as part of their efforts, said the minister.

Speaking on the action taken by the police regarding the report publicized by the presidential commission investigating murders and enforced disappearances on the murder of former Ungoofaru MP Dr. Afrasheem Ali, Minister Imran said senior officers of the police met with the commission and Prosecutor General (PG) twice over the report. The police requested the commission members to identify if there are any suspects who can be immediately charged and arrested over the murder based on the evidences and statements mentioned in the report.

"At the first meeting, the commission said it is difficult to pinpoint such a person. We asked them to review the report to identify such a person and inform us within 24 hours. However, no individuals have been recognized by the commission thus far," said Imran.

Minister Imran stated that the absence of solid evidence that could convict anyone implicated in the 121-page report prepared by the commission was something to reflect on.

Earlier this week, former president of Maldives and the current Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed had claimed that the defence forces of the country were influenced by extremist ideologies.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a seminar on Children's Rights and Juvenile Justice, Nasheed said the defense forces had 'succumbed' to the dark cloud of religious extremism, and claimed that an 'unfamiliar philosophy' was being introduced to Maldives.

"We are now witnessing [extremists] working towards establishing a new system through a 'dark state'. They are competing with our [democratic] policies. They are propagating that it is okay not to follow the laws ratified by the president. We are witnessing the defence force and the police choosing not to address these issues out of passivity," Nasheed had said.

Nasheed was criticized for his comments by former Vice President of Maldives Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, who said that Nasheed's remarks need to be investigated as his comments were a 'threat to national security'.

Dr. Jameel said that as this was not the first time Nasheed made outrageous claims against the defence forces. The authorities must not remain silent on the allegations, said Jameel.

"He even disrespected MNDF in the past, mocking them with the phrase 'money, money, yes sir'. Fires were sparked all over the country, he even sought gangs to create chaos and unrest. There is a chance that the same actions will be repeated. This is not the time for security forces to keep quiet," said Jameel.