Islanders of Himadhoo gathered in numbers Sunday evening to prevent police officers from removing a two-year-old boy from his father’s custody.
The father is defying a family court order issued on April 14 to transfer the child to his mother’s care within seven days. The police reportedly went to the island in the central Alif Alif atoll after the gender ministry failed to resolve the custody battle.
Himandhoo Council’s President Abdulla Shareef told Maldives Independent: “The police were ruthless in their attempt to remove the child. They acted as if they were snatching a crow from a nest, pulling the child’s arm and making him cry.”
The police media official was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Some 20 police officers were called in from a nearby island last night after about five policemen failed to take the child away earlier in the day.
A police spokesperson told local media today that the father went into hiding on the island when the police backup force arrived Sunday night.
He has since been found but is refusing to comply with the court order and give up custody of the child.
Himandhoo was the scene of a violent confrontation between the security services and a separatist prayer group in October 2007.