Legal Politics Society & Culture

‘Cursed’ coconut removed from Maldives cemetery

Photo of ‘cursed’ coconut from Raajje TV.

Maldives police have removed a coconut that was buried in a grave in the capital, Raajje TV reported Monday.

The station said it had obtained a photo of the coconut, which had writing and strange markings on it. Police confirmed that an investigation was underway. The coconut was found in Aasaharaa (New Cemetery) in Malé.

Raajje TV also reported there were frequent cases of strange items – such as corpse-like dolls – being buried in the graves of people with specific names in the cemetery.

There were also allegations that senior government officials had been seeking permission to bury things in the cemetery, and offering money to migrant workers to bury things there.

The use of cursed coconuts was also alleged in court after the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Earlier this month four people were arrested from Kulhudhuffushi island on suspicion of practising sorcery for an opposition victory in the September 23 presidential election.

One was identified as Ismail Ibrahim, the council’s highest-ranking civil servant, and another as senior admin officer Hussain Ali.

Ibrahim and another suspect were freed when summoned to court for a remand hearing on Saturday, local media reported.

There was a surge of suspected sorcery ahead of the 2013 presidential election, including a cursed coconut and a black magic doll at a polling station.

Belief in sorcery and black magic, known locally as fanditha and sihuru, is common in the Maldives.

Fanditha is allowed for licensed parties under a 1978 law. Sihuru, enlisting demons to harm others, while not illegal is unauthorised and considered taboo.

Sihuru-related arrests have been common in recent years, but suspects are often released without charge due to the complexity of legal action.

Last October, the authorities discussed ways to strengthen the legal framework as the current penal code does not have a specific provision for black magic and sorcery.

In August 2015 the Maldives Fiqh Academy, then an advisory body of religious scholars, warned against the promotion of black magic in the media after opposition figures linked the uprooting of old trees at Republic Square and the removal of the Republic monument in Malè to President Abdulla Yameen’s alleged fear of sorcery.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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