Male: On Tuesday morning, an enraged mob stormed the national football stadium in Male, the Maldives’ capital, disrupting a yoga and meditation practice.
On the occasion of the International Day of Yoga, the Indian Cultural Centre collaborated with the Union Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment hosted a yoga and meditation hour. Due to the mob’s disruption, attendees to the yoga practice were unable to finish their meditation.
The demonstrators, who held banners and placards and shouted slogans, allegedly asked that the Yoga Day celebrations be cancelled and that all attendees leave the stadium immediately. Members of the mob reportedly threatened several of the attendees.
Miscreants armed with sticks and flags charged at those practicing yoga and meditation on their yoga mats, according to videos published on social media.
The police intervened, throwing tear gas canisters into the field where the unruly throng was harassing the attendees, before the situation escalated into a physical altercation.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said an inquiry into the incident was ordered.
Earlier, the demonstrators held up posters declaring that yoga violated Islam’s beliefs.
The Maldives was one of 177 countries to vote in favour of co-sponsoring a UN resolution designating June 21 as International Day of Peace.
“An investigation has been launched by the police. This is being treated as a matter of serious concern and those responsible will be swiftly brought before the law,” Solih tweeted.
The announcement of hosting an event to commemorate the International Day of Yoga was met with severe criticism by citizens, who had even threatened against holding the event.