Maldivian MP denied entry at Chennai airport, days after Maldives returns search-and-rescue helicopters gifted by India

Amid strained ties between Maldives and India, Ahmed Nihan, a Maldivian MP, who is a parliamentary group leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, was denied entry into India at Chennai International Airport and sent back on 4 June, reports said.

A top aide of the Maldivian President, Abdulla Yameen, Nihan was in Chennai with his co-passengers Yameen’s sister and brother-in-law, both of whom were allowed to enter, A News18 report said. Nihan holds a diplomatic passport and a SAARC visa which gives him access to all SAARC regions.

File Image of Ahmed Nihan. Image credit: ahmed.nihan1

File Image of Ahmed Nihan. Facebook @ahmed.nihan1

Confirming the incident, Maldivian ambassador to India Ahmed Mohamed said that MP Nihan was a frequent flyer to Chennai for his medical check-ups. “The recent visit was also to consult the doctor. This is an unfortunate incident,” News18 quoted Mohamed as saying.

Nihan tweeted on Tuesday evening that he had not been allowed to enter India and called for a press conference at 10 pm (Maldivian local time) to discuss his deportation.

"I wasn't asked to sign anything. Didn't stamp (the) passport. Didn't say I was banned from entering. But they had three documents. One of those three documents, I know is with my airline agent. But haven't seen (it)." MP Nihan said, according to Sun Online.

According to The Wire, Nihan believes that he was not allowed to step on Indian soil due to his political affiliations, as he was asked to identify which party he belonged to by the immigration officials.

This incident occurred amidst the continuing deterioration in relations between India and Maldives and two days after Maldives government’s decided to 'return' two search-and-rescue helicopters gifted by India in 2016, following the signing of an India-Maldives defence action plan in April that year.

India's Ambassador to the Maldives, Akhilesh Mishra, was approached by the country's government on Wednesday, The New Indian Express said.

 

 


Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 11:57 AM

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