Twelve hours of the Twelfth Night caused loss and damage accounted for US$90 million, including that of US$35 million cash blown up in air. Of this, US$27.8 million alone claimed by Mehdi’s businesses, including the Embraer aircraft, submarine track and cost of rescue operation on Meedu Reef. The government spent US$45 million for clean-up operations, flight charters and in aftermath expenditure of the Twelfth Night. The Danish got two major projects destroyed of the dockyard and the airstrip in Fua Mulak.
Cost of rendering services and overheads not covered in any report. Emotional breakdown, fear and panic had risen to unthinkable heights, including events of abuse and bodily harm done to Jumanah for instance. Besides, countless other businesses and tour operators would encumber enormous loss from grounding flights, cancellations and emergency dealings.
Expenses could trigger over US$25 million on Operation Turquoise conducted by India with the cost of five missiles used in this operation.
History of the nation belted a chain of record breaking events to add; first time ever missiles hit the Maldives, a military insurgence of large scale occurred, a successful overthrow of government by coup d'état, an act of international terrorism conducted in the country, cost and loss of lives second to the tsunami of 2004. By all means, the operation was bigger and more fearful than November 3rd Incident in 1988.
Twelfth Night caused a lot of rioting in Malé with an ever boiling violent crowd of parté muggers and dopers supported by opposition political parties and some stood by to prop up this evil crusade led by Jaws of Sprout. In particular, a great number of tourists got caught amidst this incident in the Maldives, not even during the tsunami had foreign tourists faced terrifying harm to this extent. Ultimately, the invasion claimed by India was more momentous than the colonial era.
India, similar to other countries in the world, got troubled by its own problems; movement building towards Assam liberation, boarder disputes of Kashmir and Sikkim, communist governments in southern states, disputes with neighbouring states of Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, China and Sri Lanka, threats of terrorism, etc. In no time India faced a problematic situation with the Maldives on terrestrial waters or a dispute on Maliku or prisoner exchange or trade. India’s readiness in aid and assistance rendered to the Maldives had proven of remarkable collaboration and neighbourliness.
However, the invasion gave rise to add a new chapter to the book of records and history over India’s dominance in Indian Ocean region and realisation of a fully ripen superpower and shadowed the good image and consistent relationships India continued to enjoy with the rest of the world. In the diplomatic arena, she ruined the dreams of SAARC and countries with boarder disputes deemed mistrust while some nations felt sober for selfishly not allowing India to hold a permanent seat in the United Nations in the first place. No matter how insignificant this invasion could be, it became known as the ‘silent shock’ as the world observed with shocking embarrassment. While every focus was directed on Iran, India took the stage without shame, no blame.
Why did the United States apprehend from calling it an invasion? It incited the enormity of an issue to confront the barely reliable superpower in the Eastern Hemisphere. Why did the United States amalgamate the nuclear treaty with India? It again proved there could be no choice to deal out India.
For some time, international media focused on the rise of India and a generation came to learn about an endeavouring east, the Imperial East of three great empires, plausibly wilder than the West, and a little bit more of the Maldives until voices died once again.
In twelve hours of the Twelfth Night, death toll triggered to 70 head counts of the military and civilian. In breakdown total, 9 females and 61 males died, that included 3 children. 14 male tourists died, that included 12 in the flight hit by a missile. 19 males and 2 females died among the civilians, 14 males and 3 females died of the national military, 12 males and 3 females died of the police. One man was missing in the Equatorial Sea cordon. None died of the Indian military.
Moreover, a consequential death occurred of an islander in India three months later.
In casualty figures, 529 reported wounded, 435 in Fua Mulak and 64 in Malé injured following riots. 5 tourists wounded at the airstrip, 198 male tourists, 210 female tourists and 27 child tourists at Hotel Korakeli got badly scorched during hostage rescue. 2 male and 4 female native civilians reported wounded. 10 male and 4 female military officers, 3 male and 2 female police officers were among the wounded.
Over 300 locals were taken into police custody following riots in Malé and of suspected links to Jaws of Sprout.
The enemy in the name of Force Nine included 168 Somali mercenaries and 3 ringleaders of Maldivian origin. 4 Somali crew in the landing craft were identified as civilians but only the cook remained alive. 119 killed in action and 37 wounded. 52 were held in custody and the Maldivian Government appealed to the International Criminal Court for justice over war crime and terrorism. Conversely, India was hardly prepared to accept ICC and this body itself fell short to oblige because no country on earth acknowledged the mercenaries as nationalities. International Criminal Court (ICC) expressed in a press release that the organisation was taking time to study if the case was appropriate for international mediation as a war crime or terrorism or civil war incited from hard-headed rule. ICC was prepared to influence justice over invasion claimed by India more readily. Consequently, the government began its own court justice pressured by New Delhi.
None of the islanders got life insurance, though the death of so many tourists brought many nations to claim Maldivian authorities to hold responsibility over their deaths. It followed a candlelight vigil in Fua Mulak on the Twelfth Night every year. Not because any of the bodies were buried in the island but in memory of the horrendous incident and those twelve tourists who died in the blown up aircraft. The mystery of the missile that hit the flight Embraer remained unsolved.
Ibthisham and Layla were released on Sunday morning. Halym went to pick them from Hulumalé and took them to Mookai Hotel in the island capital of Malé. Ibthisham rang the owner of the yacht club in Eydafushi and asked for her belongings. The manager replied, “We picked your things from Innafushi on Thursday. All of your stuff is here since Mr Mehdi’s dead and I couldn’t reach you. I will send them to Faruman Riyal head office in Hulumalé.” She called her father in Gujarat and told her heartbreaking story.
That afternoon, Halym fetched the pair from Mookai Hotel and sped to the airport on Mehdi’s Marko. They flew to Fua Mulak Island to attend a meeting with Inspector Jabir and for the funeral of Mehdi and other victims scheduled for Monday noon. Mehdi’s father and some other members of his family were up there. Diogo Alves, Nalin Mendis, Zaffir and other Mehdi’s employees were in Fua Mulak for the funeral. Zaffir warned her, “Do not spell a word to Mehdi’s father about business. Stay out of sight until Miss Veloso arrives. She is on her way. I have spoken to Mr Gerardo Mello on the phone. There’s something waiting for you right from the boss. Miss Veloso will tell you about it on Thursday.”
In conference with Inspector Jabir that evening, she sat in Doondigam School hall with Zaffir, Halym and Layla. She came across Serra, Dr Rehene and Zehreban among the invitees. Ibthisham only knew Dr Rehene and Fezlynn in the crowd. Rehene introduced Madam Serra to Ibthisham and Layla briefly. They were checked and asked to leave mobile phones and electronic items with the front desk before entering the hall. There were top ranking officers, officials from Malé, familiar faces and strange ones, the Atoll Chief, the Principal of Efrémen Secondary School and others.
Ibthisham and Layla stayed silently listening to what the officers got to say in briefing of investigations done so far on three particular cases of Mehdi, Fathina and the patient-impostor. Twelve civilian bodies were buried on Friday afternoon. The Atoll Minister’s corpse was taken to Malé. Military and police fatalities that did not belong to Fua Mulak were taken to Addu Atoll. Fua Mulak did not have a proper mortuary to keep corpses for long period. A couple of bodies would be repatriated from the country. All dead mercenaries would be buried in a matter of days in a mass grave and the location not yet decided.
The hall was in faint light. Fezlynn described how the patient-imposter was used for the escape and how he was shot. Sergeant Ilham illustrated the death of Fathina with video footage showing her body lying down on the bulwark with the gun in her hand and in detail, horrendous wounds on her back from eight bullets shot by Lance Corporal Maseeh. She read Zehreban’s report on two affairs of sexual intercourse Fathina had with Sergeant Essan and Second Lieutenant Gudus. Abruptly, an unbending dick appeared on the screen. According to Sergeant Ilham, she had collected samples from those bodies for DNA tests but the reports would come much later. Laboratory tests and post-mortem carried out in Fua Mulak gave sufficient evidence on the cases and to the consent of the coroner to carry on burial. Fathina’s mother and ex-husband were there watching the video.
Station Inspector Jabir described the death of Mehdi showing footage of the CCTV picked on airport surveillance cameras and photographs taken by night-goers and reporters around there on the Twelfth Night. Superintendent Azmyl and Atoll Chief Hanim who gave their testimonies over Mehdi’s death as witnesses were present at the assembly.
After hearing of those three reports, the lights came on. Mehdi’s father got several questions to ask, so did others. Ibthisham and Layla remained sombre and followed instructions in signing the medical reports and coroner’s papers for burial. This was a close session and no reporters were allowed. This was the only time those videos were shown and to a certain group of the public. The convention ended at midnight.
Monday noon, Ibthisham and Layla attended the funeral at Masjid-al-Marjan. Three coffers placed in a row with the Maldivian National Flag wrapped on each one of them.
Ibthisham was deeply religious as she appeared in a white sari covering her hair in purdah with a red blemish on her forehead, her hands touched together in obeisance. She wished her husband be cremated. Layla Thoif observed uneventfully.
She came across people from all walks of life. Everyone who learnt she was Mehdi’s wife got a story to tell about the Twelfth Night. They visited the hospitals. She visited the girl called Jumanah admitted at Southern Cross. Everybody was occupied in clean-up operations, repairs, some still doing estimates of the loss.
On Tuesday, Mehdi’s staffs arrived at Gan on a speedboat from Estado Mello Gan. Nalin was telling her about the destruction caused to the subtrain track and repairs underway. She needed Ibthisham’s help. Though Ibthisham got plans to fly with her mother to Malé and leave her with Wasym. Next she would attend a meeting with Catalina Veloso that Zaffir arranged at the head office on Thursday.
By coincidence, Ibthisham stepped on Estado Mello jetty to come face to face with Flight Lieutenant Feroz Daksh engaged in the rescue mission and still the Indian troops had not pulled out, most probably, now conducting Operation Thirty-Six – Blue Waters. Feroz Daksh had flown several times but since the frigate unit was in the Equatorial waters, it was part of his mission to fly with a loaded jetfighter. Indian military continued to maintain its presence at Gan International Airport. So she decided to extend her stay until Thursday. That was her chance to spend paradise for a second time with her secret lover and preferred to stay at her little lodge in order to keep the affair secret from her mother who was booked at Estado Mello Kào. She got her Honda Wave to ride from Gan to Kào, stopping by to see how Nalin was doing. She desperately wanted to be with Feroz Daksh. Until then she had to share emails.
Ibthisham Gir became a Maldivian citizen who belonged to Vilufushi Island in 2011. The new government opened doors for her to marry in her own country as a Hindu to her Hindu boyfriend from India. She was not the first non-Moslem to become a Maldivian citizen or to wed in Indian style. There were numerous other half-Indian breeds, half-Christians or half-Moslems and Christian converts. However, probably she was the first Hindu citizen of a Maldivian origin. According to new reforms there would be no clandestine head counts and census surveys to disclose the number of people who belonged to other faiths and what other religions newly arrived to the Maldives. For hundred years this country conducted census surveys most effective in the South Asia region but no records demonstrated non-Moslems and the number of prostitutes.
Finally, on Thursday, 20th December, Ibthisham and her mother arrived at Malé International Airport. South African Express Airways carrying Catalina Veloso had already landed an hour ago. Her stay was arranged at Hululé Island Hotel for two days. Veloso would spend the rest of her stay in Addu Atoll partially engaged with business and also to spend the Christmas and New Year in the Maldives.
That afternoon Ibthisham left the hotel dressed in a red dopetta, picked the ferryboat and arrived fifteen minutes early at Faruman Riyal head office in Hulumalé. She expected the meeting to be held in the conference hall and since she was early, she climbed the sixth floor to come across the staff girl in white mini uniform and blue tie.
“Hi Thisham!” cheered Sima, “Mr Zaffir would be here any minute now. You can wait in Mehdi’s office. I am coming in a second with a drink.”
Ibthisham stepped to Mehdi’s door and entered quietly.
“Olá!” greeted Catalina Veloso over the glasses on nose-tip, seated behind the polished desk, clean and empty, the light blue insignia of Faruman Riyal over her head.
“Hello!” said Ibthisham frowning. Mehdi never used to paperwork only scribbled signatures on folders. His work stored in the computer system and the large desk remained clean.
“Come, sit down!” Veloso was dressed in black. By the looks, she was in mid-thirties, a brown skin and black hair that matched too well to the black and brown colours of Mehdi’s office. “My condolences, I will visit Mr Mehdi’s grave when I go to Fua Mulak. I want to see personally what happened there.” For a moment they shared thoughts.
Zaffir entered sharp at three, followed by Sima who served coffee and cakes. “Right, Sima, keep all calls out, we are in a meeting,” he instructed.
Veloso began, “Ibthisham, you may not be too familiar with laws of the country that govern properties and businesses. When it comes to situations like this, it often ends in miserable terms. And I don’t even know too well about it. When we started this business with Mr Mehdi, I learnt about a case that involved seven resorts, several hotels in Singapore and Malaysia, superstores, a big business…ended up in fifty percent share to the son of the idling share holder brother who died. Recently, I read about two other cases that have gone wrong. We do have laws here but court cases are conducted in a very unprofessional manner and absolutely unreliable. Even if the government has changed and somebody wished to bring reforms, these practices will take time to change. Now we have to protect our business and assets. This company called Faruman Riyal now belongs to you. This business actually belongs to Mr Gerardo. All the flights of Divehi Uduhun, the ethanol farm, Marko cars, Hybrid cars, the hotels, the subtrain...everything belongs to Mr Gerardo. Of course, I know Suresh Brothers of India got a holding with Faruman Medical Products & Laboratory, funding a portion of KEP in Kela and project funding in India. We have no knowledge how KEP is going to end with India taking over the project in the name of KESS. I can handle Suresh Brothers and continue this business smoothly, they are our partners too.
“What is more exigent under the circumstances is Mehdi’s father. He’s a Maldivian, a wealthy man and a former Atoll Chief, he’s got power apparently to swindle this company, bribe a judge…or anything. He’s married to a sixteen year old girl. What he’d ask next is Mehdi’s property. He has no share in this business, nothing that states so, no evidence, nothing but he might still claim. And it’s pretty tricky how it ends up here. Since he’s the father, some old practice of justice might come to agree everything now belongs to him. And we see those cargo ships formerly under the Riyal Shipping are property he can claim.