Police officers have been injured in clashes with demonstrators, in Haa Alif Dhidhdhoo; Sun and Haveeru have reported. The local media reports say that demonstrators clashed with Police, after police custody of a person detained by the Police for investigation in the previous days clashes was exteded by the local magistrate court today. The person was taken from the court today, after reinforcements were brought in from the regional police station in Kulhudhuffushi.
The demonstrations and subsquent violent clashes with the Police are due to the calls by a group of islanders calling for the release of some of those accused of the rape of a 13 year old girl. She is the daughter of a woman of the island who is married to a man from another island. The group that clased violently with the Police also called for the arrest of the girl. This is no surprise as people who protect peadophiles in the Maldives usually claim that it is with the child’s consent or seduced by the child.
Dhidhdhoo incident, over and over again, is a stark reminder of the challenges facing the protection of children from sexual abuse, in the Maldives. There is little real commitment and will of the political leadership to protect children. A very frank politician said that it would be difficult for politicians in government or elected officials – meaing MPs and concilors, to effectively deliver on the protection of children from sexual abuse. He said that too much was at stake as going after those accused of sexual abuse would be costly in terms of the number of votes and politicians cannot afford it. He was frank and opened my eyes to the truth, so his name will not be disclosed.
The person whose custody was extended today was revealed by Haveeru as Ali Hashim, who is the brother of Dhidhdhoo councilor Abdulla Waheed. And two people amongst the six people detained by Police today, for obstructing the police were employees of the local utility company. Utitlity companies recruitment is widely believed to be politically influenced as members of the Board of Directors of utility companies are political appointees.
The media has not reported if any of the authorities have taken any measures toward the protection of the abused girl, who is in a really vulneralbe situation due to the mob mentality that is prevalent in Dhidhdhoo right now, which is likely to have the blessing of the political clout of the island. The islands are quite primitively tribal when it comes to protecting influential people.
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