When Hussain Rasheed started talking about his son, a sob choked his voice. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHis feeble reply wasn't even audible to the small gathering for sometime. When he regained his composure the first question he asked: Why was my son killed? What was his crime?\r\n\r\nThe only crime of Yameen Rasheed,an independent blogger, was that he was a fierce critic of the radical Islamic forces and the government of President Abdulla Yameen, he said. \r\n\r\nThe Maldives today does not brook any political dissent and abhors any criticism of extremist Islamic forces, according to rights activists.\r\n\r\nA predominantly Sunni Islamic country, the Indian ocean archipelago has seen an alarming rise of extremist forces ever since Yammen has assumed office in 2013. \r\n\r\nThe radical forces found a willing ally in Yameen who has been using extremist groups to entrench and expand his autocratic political footprints in the country, activists claim.\r\n\r\nThe devious bonhomie seems to reflect in the way the government has responded to the killing of Rasheed in the last week of April. No serious investigation is underway to trace the killers, according to Rasheed.\r\n\r\nYameen\u2019s close friend Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a journalist with The Maldives Independent, also met the similar fate when he disappeared in a mysterious condition. \r\n\r\nUnhappy with the way the blogger's death is allegedly being pushed under the carpet, his father came to Delhi last week to seek the support of the media and the Indian government to intervene in the Maldives to save the country from getting into further chaos.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe want justice for Yameen\u201d, says Rasheed in a choked voice. \u201cWhy does somebody have to kill him. Is it a crime to talk about justice, democracy and humanity," the father asked.\r\n\r\nHe calls India \u201cto intervene in the Maldives and save the country from falling into the hands of radical Islamic forces."\r\n\r\nRISE OF THE RADICALS\r\n\r\nInvited by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a New Delhi based think tank, to talk about the death of his son that drew considerable international attention, the senior Rasheed came along with Shauna Aminath, a prominent human rights activist to talk about the current situation in the Maldives.\r\n\r\nAminath is one of the prominent voices of dissent in the island nation today. \r\n\r\nA former advisor to Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives, she has been fighting hard to counter the present dictatorial regime of Yameen, who has unleashed a war against liberal and democratic forces of the country ever since he came to power four years ago.\r\n\r\nIn a freewheeling discussion at the ORF Aminath painted a very alarming picture of the country and if the situation is not arrested now it will lead to a stage \u201cwhere it would threaten threaten not only internal security but the security in South Asia and that should worry India\u201d.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf there is no intervention in the country now the situation would soon become irreversible\u201d, rues the young activist, who is also actively involved in promoting independent media in the country.\r\n\r\nShe says the danger is not only from the polity turning repressing and autocratic, the menace lies in the rise of Islamic radicalism in the country. \r\n\r\nEven though Maldives has a population of around 400,000, 200 are estimated to have left to join the ISIS, making the small island nation the No.1 external contributor of human resources to ISIS on a population-adjusted basis.\r\n\r\nWhat is alarming is the government\u2019s active collusion with the Islamist forces, Aminath says, accusing the Yameen regime of instituting repressive measures to stop any criticism of the alarming rise of Wahabism in the archipelago. \r\n\r\nPolitical opposition has almost been silenced. Most of the prominent voices of opposition are exiled. Former president Nasheed has been declared persona non grata in his own country. \r\n\r\nMaumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country for thirty years, and one of the alliance partners of Yameen, has also fallen out with his the president, who happens to be his nephew. \r\n\r\nToday the situation has been made so difficult that it would be tough for Gayoom\u2019s party to participate in the next year\u2019s elections.\r\n\r\nAccording to different reports, more than 1700 people of different political parties are facing criminal charges, two liberal newspapers have been forced to shut down, one TV channel has stopped its operation, and some of the prominent journalists have been forced to leave the country.\r\n\r\nAminath says that the defamation case has been criminalized and this has restricted the civil liberty to a great extent.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s extremist ideology that is killing the liberal values and voices in the country, and threatening the very democracy of the nation," laments the activist.\r\n\r\nShe asserts that the Yameen regime is highly unpopular in the country. \r\n\r\nCiting the example of a recent local elections in the island where the president\u2019s party got just 24% of the vote, Aminath says that if \u201cdemocracy is allowed to function properly Yameen will not be able to retain the mandate.\u201d\r\n\r\nShe looks up to India for an \u201curgent intervention\u201d and \u201csilence\u201d would be counter productive for everyone.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe look upon India for support. Its India which inspired democracy in the Maldives and it is its responsibility to play proactive role in the country\u201d, feels Aminath.\r\n\r\nShe also calls upon the civil society groups in India \u201cto proactively engage with the Maldives before it becomes too late.Such robust engagement is important for the larger good of the subcontinent\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe Maldives is at a crossroads again. \r\n\r\nThough overwhelming majority of the population belongs to Sunni Islam, the country has been very liberal with most of women not wearing the hijab. \r\n\r\nHowever, the growing influence of Saudi Arabia and the Wahabi form of Islam has radicalized a section of the population, which wants to convert and rule the country according to conservative Islamic practices.\r\n\r\nSuch radical forces have been getting an active political patronage by the Yameen regime for the last four years.\r\n\r\nWith the active support of the extremist Islamic forces the president wants to entrench his authority in the country. For him and radical groups democracy is a challenge and therefore, they are actively conniving to shunt and shut liberal and democratic voices in the country.