Indian embassy caught up in Maldivian stand-off involving ex-President Mohamed Nasheed

India has been dragged into a tough diplomatic situation with the former president of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed and 12 members of parliament from his party rushing to the Indian embassy in the island nation, seeking protection.

Maldivian police forces are standing outside the Indian embassy, urging the politicians to get out of the embassy and face the law. About 200 policemen in riot gear are trying to keep the ex-President’s supporters from collecting at the embassy gate.

The case is related to the detainment and arrest of a judge during Nasheed’s term as the president.

“The arrest warrant is illegal in itself,” said Imtiaz Sahumi, one of the MPs who have accompanied Nasheed into the High Commission. “His lawyers have approached the High Court.. the Court has not decided the case, but they have accepted it,” Sahumi added.

Sahumi’s party had organized a protest last Friday, which, he said, was attended by 10,000-12,000 people.

Hamid Gafoor, international spokesperson of the Maldivian Democratic Party reiterated that President Nasheed was forced to resign.

According to international law, Maldivian forces cannot enter the embassy of any other country even though they are situated in the country.

A year ago, Mohamed Nasheed resigned in front of local media following weeks of protests by opposition which had then been joined by majority of military and police forces.

He later claimed that he was forced to resign “at gunpoint” by police and army officers. Nasheed’s successor Mohammed Waheed Hassan denied these claims and stated that the transfer of power was voluntary and constitutional.

The Maldivian government has criticized Nasheed’s actions and called the stand-off ‘scaremongering’ by the ex-President.

India is the most influential neighbour for the small island nation, which has had traditional ethnic and trading ties with the sub-continent.