There are many Maldivians in India to receive an education or medical care. Hundreds of Maldivian patients have been taken to Kerala state for medical treatment. However, they are facing problems.
Joint Opposition running mate Faisal Naseem recently travelled to Trivandrum to meet with Maldivians living in India and hear their concerns.
He received a warm welcome upon his arrival at the airport in India, showing that the enthusiasm of the opposition coalition’s campaign has reached the neighboring country.
Faisal was accompanied in his trip by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson Hassan Latheef, Jumhooree Party (JP) Vice President Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, and Aminath Nadira from the Maumoon Reform Movement. Their presence was an added encouragement to supporters of the opposition coalition in India.
The enthusiasm of supporters was seen on their faces when Faisal visited the ‘visa site’ in Trivandrum last Sunday night. At the site, Faisal heard the concerns of citizens and discussed how to strengthen their campaign.
“There are 600 plus when we looked into the re-registered voters, therefore there are 1,000 when including the families and dependents. When looking at the 2013 election, there were 3,000 to 4,000 voters. Most of them have moved to other countries for various reasons,” said Ahmed Zuhair, a senior campaign coordinator in India.
After the meeting at the visa site, Faisal went door-to-door to meet Maldivian citizens and then visited Maldivian patients at the Trivandrum hospitals.
“The main problem with Aasandha (the national medical insurance) is that it runs out halfway while abroad for treatment. Then there is no way to get Aasandha,” said a Maldivian in India.
The most common complaint Maldivians in India have is that they are cut off from Aasandha services and the only way to get it is through a member of a particular political party. Faisal has pledged to solve this issue in Joint Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration and also vowed that the Aasandha services provided during Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s would be restored.
Regarding the difficulties Maldivians face in receiving dependent visas in India, Faisal said that a government led by the opposition coalition parties will strengthen the deteriorated ties between both countries and solve this issue.
“I guarantee all citizens that we will develop strong ties with other countries, especially India, for the benefit of Maldivians. Those who we have visited have expressed concern over Aasandha. We are greatly concerned over this issue.”
The rift between India and President Abdulla Yameen’s administration has greatly affected Maldivians, especially when it comes to the issue of visas.
Faisal said that this problem has come at great cost to the families who had to get their children out of schools and move to other countries or return to Maldives after failing to secure visas.
While going door-to-door and meeting with young students and the elderly, Faisal pledged to give them special fares in the Maldives’ national airline.
A special event was held at The Ruby Arena hotel after concluding the door-to-door campaign. Many ordinary Maldivian citizens there were hopeful that a solution to their problems can be found.