In 2008, when election turned up, hostility escalated; street fights, demonstrations, riots, parté mobs, student rows, islander clashes, drugs, crime, sex, murder, homicide and suicide increased at a rate never recorded before. KEP (Kela Energy Project) started with investment from Suresh Brothers & Co, promising north to hold control of energy supply to the country. Various other projects were initiated to create job opportunities, resort islands in the north did appear, to some extend fisheries and agriculture paid off but nowhere near to the focus in the south. Opposition groups created most of the bedlam, predisposed by the Matadors suffering from sweeping changes brought by the state disbanding its social agenda in support of populous areas to obtain majority vote. It deterred settlement projects underway in relocating the tsunami victims.
Capricorn won more votes even from Malé for two reasons; prices of commodities and living cost gone down and in the hope of connecting Malé with Hulumalé by means of a submarine train.
In October, President Capricorn claimed victory by winning 61% of the votes. It was a huge gamble. If the Equator Zone was not in place, he could obtain far less. Like elsewhere, minority groups created trouble during the election. It was nowhere near peaceful. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth, SAARC, EU and other international organisations observing the election activities declared the voting was free and fair.
In the aftermaths an EU press release stated, “The Government of Maldives manipulated with reforms in its power without exercising the constitutional right to deal with the Parliament and thus attained popular vote that EU observed to consider future collaboration with the Maldives to be carefully based on verification how the government treat this opportunity.” At present EU nations had no intention to apply sanction. For the most part, the Equator Zone opened new prospects for the European Market to operate airliners and tours. Key projects were undertaken by Denmark and Germany.
The US spokesman said, “We have observed the election and under no circumstance we can agree it was free or fair for the amount of disorder it caused in the country. We regret that the President failed to keep up to his promise.” This was the first time ever USA turned down to support the longstanding dictator.
British MP, Lord, appointed to oversee the issue of political reforms in the Maldives raised the question in the British Parliament given chance in a break, “I care to say election held in the Maldives was unsatisfactory for bringing about violence around the ballot boxes but I may add it’s observed free and fair. There seem to be no significant misconduct during the counting of votes. I do fear the President’s re-election for a seventh term may create turmoil in the country and beyond what we can imagine. President’s political reforms took over a capital turn opening Addu Atoll for tourism, so-called Equator Zone and gained widespread support. Even so, important changes towards a modern democracy have not taken place and I fear the future looks bleak for the Maldivian people.”
Australia happened to be a recent contributor to the nation, said that the Maldives embarked on tall schemes were quite unimportant and unnecessary.
India expressed, “Private businesses and boost in country’s economy is appalling and the nation should maintain discipline on how resources are utilised. India worries over the direction taken unilaterally.”
Japan preferred to remain silent despite being the number one donor to the Maldives.
The Matadors, the Dogs and the Outlaws united to condemn the election treated unfair and cheated of. The unison demanded to hold election over again. The President rejected under an executive order claiming he won through free and fair vote. His party walked out. Troubles just got started.
President Capricorn blamed political parties for creating chaos needlessly in the country and ordered his military and police to prepare for the oath taking ceremony on 11th November fearing it to go untidy.
Three opposition parties organised widespread protests for the 11th November 2008 on every island in the Maldives claiming it would be peaceful. They were standing in a sweltering environment to prove the world of their morose resentment in presence of the overseas visitors and international media attending the occasion. The protesters demanded President Capricorn to resign. An Indian Navy gunboat was in the harbour, as usual, coincided with such important dates.
President Capricorn arranged the ceremony to take place in the morning. He delivered a brief speech. After the event his motorcade took him straight to the executive jetty, though some protesters still managed to throw stones and rotten eggs. He was transferred to his speed launch, escorted by coastguard vessels, taken to Aurah Island – on his own exile on his own retreat.
In the north and central regions, standoff grew to showdown; islanders armed with sharp tools, box-cutters, knives and mallets started aggressive riots. The police were called off at some point. Hostility escalated against government officials; magistrates, island chiefs, atoll chiefs, teachers and doctors. Islanders confronted islanders in bloody fights cutting their own children, splitting families, mobs hurled in torching houses and government properties.
The President ordered to take fresh control and authorised use of force and riot control agents; rubber bullets, teargas, pepper spray, crackers, smoke bombs, sting grenades and a standby force in body armour on every military island in the regions. The police attended in full gear to chaotic areas.
In the south flash mobs fumed the streets but it was relatively quiet. Addu and Fua Mulak supported the Equator Zone – tourism in operation benefited the public and they wished the troubles to go elsewhere.
In Malé it was quite a confrontation. After dark, the notorious military police in the sea blue camouflage, known as the G-Force, came out in full gear as to the order of the high command. In less than ninety minutes, Malé was cleaned. The military used every non-lethal technique though horrendous and hazardous. Casualty figures rose to huge numbers. In front of the foreign delegations and international media, while the world observed, while the Indian Navy watched, the job was done.
The international community quickly criticised what happened in the Maldives. Demanded an account and wanted to send teams to investigate. EU declared sanctions almost immediately however withdrawn after two days because some European countries refrained; the UK, Germany, Italy, France, mainly because it was a destination for them to operate businesses of tours and airliners. Basically, if Europe did get hands off, it was obvious China would overtake business. India would be keen to interfere politically. Besides, Arab countries now doomed to run short of oil concentrated in tourism and flight operation and to expand possession in the Indian Ocean. There was no way EU could declare sanctions.
In December, President Capricorn directed the Commissioner of Elections to bring down the obligatory 3000 signatures to 1000 to form up political parties and therefore minor movements sprung fast in the regions. For instance, the Suvadives got four such movements registered by January 2009. A lot of such minor parties did exist before but not given chance of recognition due to procedures that obligated 3000 signatures to register a political party. In the usual method, the Commissioner always returned those requests saying the signatures on the lists were not valid. It was a difficult task to obtain 3000 signatures from a 270,000 population.
A young gentleman from Villingili of Suvadiva, who turned cleric, ran Koran Schools nationwide and popular, deftly talked about politics and criticised the Capricorn Government. He was imprisoned and banned from implementation of political party activity in 2005, shortly after the tsunami, cited on a case that he allied with the Jaws of USA to build a church in Malé and that he was offered a sum of two million US dollars. In 2005, there was an incident of papers dropped to the streets of Malé quoting from the Bible and the path of Life of Jesus Christ. He was alleged behind this circulation and became known as Jaws of Sprout. He was released after two years in prison. He was keen to run a political party with great support from the Suvadives. The Act of 2008 allowed him to bring about his political movement also known as Jaws of Sprout.
Among them Mehdi was able to bring about his political movement into recognition and his doctrine of multi-culture and multi-races written in a blue book, he called ‘Blue Waters’. It sounded absurd to the Maldivian and distasteful. However, the Maldivian islanders living in India inclined to support his ideology. In India it grew irritating concern to political parties, in particular, the Brahman Apeksha, for MUM hold a revelation that the Maldives belonged to India. More troubles got started in India against the migrants primarily from the Brahmins from the State of Maharashtra. This political movement was a Hindu minority but hate encouraged them to the southern territories to wield disturbance to the migrant islanders.
One wealthy Maldivian had built four mosques in India. During the sectarian troubles in January 2009, those mosques were torched by the Brahmins. Mehdi firmly opposed ideas of infiltration using religion as a tool. Some figureheads always brought religion to first priority. A mosque appeared to them as a powerful tool to establish some kind of presence or influence and did evenly with Christians who wished to build churches in the Maldives.
In Mehdi’s principle, those who convert should maintain containment for security reasons while living among other faiths. By form of unrestricted means they must be allowed to demand religious freedoms and to practice faith when they grow in considerable size. But to question the motive to raise a mosque in India, where islanders happened to be few thousand, was the kind of thing an Indian would hate a Maldivian.
As Mehdi said, the Capricorn Government was inadequate to overcome these problems. India wanted to remove this evil. Mr Monk, the wealthy businessman, was banned from carrying out his welfare programmes to send Maldivian patients to India for medical treatment. Brahmins trouble reached illogical height to worry Mehdi over his investments in India too.