A day after expressing disapproval of extension of emergency by 30 days in Maldives, India on Thursday called for release of all political prisoners.

The MEA spokesperson said India did not see “any valid reason” for extension of emergency. “We continue to watch the situation and continue to urge the government of Maldives to release political prisoners, release the chief justice, implement Supreme Court orders and restore normal functioning of institutions of democracy,” the spokesperson said.

The Indian statement coincided with an equally sharply worded response from the Maldives foreign ministry which criticised India’s statement of Wednesday, saying it ignored “the facts and ground realities with regard to the ongoing political developments in Maldives”.

“The assertion by the Government of India that the extension of the state of emergency by the People’s Majlis was unconstitutional is a clear distortion of facts … Other than implementing the necessary measures stated in the decree imposing the state of emergency, it ensures no other restriction on the daily lives of the people,” it said.

However, India has persisted in its call to restore normalcy in Maldives. “It is our sincere desire to see that democracy in Maldives is restored and situation returns to normal. This we feel is also the desire of the people of Maldives. We are dismayed that the Maldives government has extended emergency for a further period of 30 days,” the MEA spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Maldives minister Shainee refuted reports that Male had rejected UN mediation between the ruling party and opposition. He said it was the president who had requested for UN participation. “The UN has always insisted on initial engagement between parties for it to engage meaningfully, which the government is trying to do but opposition keeps blocking,” the minister said.

“There is no doubt that the Maldives is experiencing one of the most difficult periods in the history of the nation. It is therefore important that friends and partners in the international community, including India, refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation,” he said.

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