ASHWIN KUMAR S G
Many of the Indian as well as Maldivian new generation does not know or seldom care about ‘Operation Cactus’.The 1988 incident happened in Maldives where a group of Maldivians led by Abdullah Luthufi assisted by a Tamil secessionist organization from Srilanka, the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Elam(PLOTE), tried to overthrow the government in the island of Republic of Maldives.This coup d’etat aimed at usurping the position of then Mali President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was failed due to the apt and timely intervention of the Indian Army. The far-sighted help from the then Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi marked an unparalleled Army Operation in its own standards called ‘Operation Cactus’ which aimed at defeating the Abdulla Luthufi’s Maldivian group along with the Tamil secessionist groups. India concerned about its boundaries with the Maldives paid heed to the request by then Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom send 1600 troops via Illyushin II-76 aircraft of the Indian Army who successfully defeated the rebels and restored peace and stability in the Maldives plus giving his Presidentship back to Gayoom. The world nations including the US and Britain showered India with praises for this unique and unparalleled operation by the Indian Air Force.
Now, it’s 2018, this little group of islands called the Maldives has put sudden restrictions on the Indian workers in their nation. The Maldives is a country which mainly thrives on the revenue from tourism which has got well trained capable Indian workforce till now. But setting a nationality prejudice against the people from a country which helped them at their bad times is like spitting at one’s own father after getting born because of him. It’s totally unacceptable!
An emergency ordered by the Maldivian Prez Abdulla Yameen in February marked an era of blatant human rights violations. Opposition leaders were jailed en masse, China cashing in on the situation as the right moment to expand its arms across India joined the Maldivian President with a free trade agreement offer. All these inimical gestures to the region posed by the Maldives forced PM Narendra Modi to cancel his visit to Mali in 2015 protesting against the unethical emergency. This cancellation of his visit is getting a retribution in the form of cancellation of work permits to the Indian workers as per the directives from the Maldivian President’s office.
About 29,000 Indians work in the Maldives with an estimated population of 427,756 people, which forms about 7% of the total population. As mentioned earlier, Maldives thrive on the tourism prospects, so the majority of these workers are in the Resort, hotel sectors. Adding to that there are about 2000 pending job applications. Though titled constitutional republic, this Islamic country is not so liberal in the religious rules as they do not permit other religions especially the Hindus to wear their religious marks or let alone conduct any religious function there. But still, among the Indian workforce, the Hindus constitute a predominant part in building up the economy of that country.
Many workers, who have completed their hotel management courses from coveted institutions in India are now at tenterhooks due to ‘undeclared ban’ on the Indians as a whole.
Job enthusiasts from the Indian states including Kerala have contacted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for help but neither she nor the Embassy of India (EoI) in the Maldives has offered any solace let alone take any action. As an active Twitterati, Sushma has been sending mass tweets by the workers which have been left replied by her.
India should take up the issue with the Maldivian Government urging them to go by bilateral visa agreement. The situation also points towards the serious issue of ‘joblessness’ or the inability of the Indian Government to keep the skilled force within India by providing them better opportunities. The western countries including the US, Britain and Canada and also the Asian countries like the UAE, Singapore etc have made their country prosperous and made themselves developed states through a majority of Indian brains working hard and delivering their productive service. The truth is that these nations have been able to provide a free space for entrepreneurship, skill development, innovation and job security for umpteen Indians which made them render their services to these countries.
We have Indian Government’s Start-Up India scheme inaugurated on 16th January 2016 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, which is based on three pillars-simplification and handholding, funding support and incentives, Industry-Academia partnership and Incubation- to increase the job opportunities in India. The I-Made programme was launched under this scheme to help entrepreneurs build 1 million mobile app startups and a MUDRA Banks scheme to give monetary support to the entrepreneurs. Still are we victorious in holding our valuable brains in this country? If not what is the reason? The Indian Government under Narendra Modi Government has announced many schemes which theoretically aims at irradicating unemployment, improving job opportunities. But what are the schemes’ effects in real life?
The reality bites when a ban in a little piece of land in the world is affecting the citizens of a country with world’s largest youth population. This one criterion if had been dealt with farsighted planning added to a worthy education system and placements, it would have been able to create more job opportunities within this country. Then India would not have been a country which had been trembling under Saudi’s sneeze or crying at America’s paper bombs.
Its high time we thought how an arrogant action by a little island made us Indians stoop our heads in shame at the employment sector in this country. We should be self-sufficient rather than expecting the long-forgotten courtesy by anyone.