08.3 Dhekunu Mala
It was raining on Tuesday. Shakir was with Habib at Askeni. At dawn, they went for prayer at a mosque next to the Atoll Office on Mahan Magu. Habib wore his green beret and KDs. Shakir fastened a handkerchief around his crown but none entered the mosque.
Adduan folks poured in and filled the floor for every prayer time. As prayer commenced, Habib entered the Atoll Office. The door here stood few yards from the road behind a low whitewashed wall. This door fixed with a knob lock that opened inward. He carried a pry bar and paused near the door. Slid into the jamb and glanced. He forced it kicking a knee and the door opened just like a burglar jemmy a door, luckily without a damage. Habib glanced again and stepped in.
In about five minutes, he came out. “I placed the thing on top of a beam in the office,” he told Shakir. Most buildings had no ceiling and breadfruit timber beams run naked overhead.
It was a stethoscope sensor device of the size of a cigarette pack with a 9V battery that could transmit for 15 hours within a range of 100 feet. Someone had to carry a small receiver and hang around within range and listen to it. This little receiver could be connected to a recorder or an earphone.
When the prayer ended, they absorbed into the crowd, nobody would query a prayer-goer, and headed to have breakfast at Koka.
There came the wheelbarrow. “Ali Huzeir!” cried Shakir, “What happened this time?”
“He mistook a mother for a daughter,” shrugged the chap carrying him. Huzeir was beaten yet again.
Habib said, “You go around the Atoll Office and see the situation. I go straight up to the end and wait for you at the causeway.”
Shakir biked pass the office. Six in the morning and Chief Hazir opened the office door. He raised the flag – the Maldive Flag with a red boarder of the origin, green centre field of peace and prosperity, and a white crescent that took away freedom in 1153.
Normally a peon would raise the flag and lower it at six in the evening. However, in these islands often an atoll chief or a loyal katib sometimes would drop a hand.
Shakir joined Habib at the causeway.
“If Adaran sees me, he will stop to talk. He has a lot to talk with me. You take the chance and go in. If there is nobody inside, reach for the beam and place the thing. Make sure you put it face up.”
“That’s the plan?” asked Shakir.
“Can you do it?”
“Sure, I have gone in there few times with Bèru. I can put that thing. Why do you call it ‘the thing’?”
“Saeed calls it ‘the thing’. I don’t know. Don’t ask me.”
And just like he said, Adaran came to talk. “I’ve seen you passing this way the other day. What brings you here?” asked Adaran.
“I come to see Shakir. I know him,” he replied.
“I think you know him well,” said Adaran, “They removed Riza. Why have they posted this guy?”
“They will send an official. That’s what they tell me. Now maybe not the right time.”
“I’m not a fan of Savari Osman. He’s just another disgruntled merchant who is very jealous of us. I have no connection whatsoever with Malé. Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
“The High Commissioner was there when I was in Malé. He left on 1st April and no side compromising. I heard they are hiring a Ceylonese barrister to redraft the whole thing…”
“They are buying time,” said Adaran, “This guy they hired is an international lawyer. He says the English entered without permission. Trespassing! I have no knowledge of trespass. He’s not there to redraft anything. Mr Rajah is hired to build a case. It’s just a waste of time and money.”
Habib saw Shakir come out of the office. Adaran continued, “Malé Government asked us to stop sending our folks to work until they could sign an agreement. We do nothing of that sort. They wish on us to retard from a small little thing we could gain. Now they want to appeal to the British Government.
“Well, Habib, drop in sometime for tea during an afternoon. I have to go.”
“Alright, we’ll meet again.”
Shakir managed to place the thing on the top of a tall cupboard. “I couldn’t reach the beam but it’s safe. This is an exciting adventure. What next?” Shakir asked.