The wanton destruction of historic tombstones in Hukuru Misky compound on Friday night is shocking beyond words. Who would want to vandalize these last vestiges of our glorious past, and why?
As usual the index of suspicion has been directed at drug addicts. But why on earth would they do a thing like this? They have absolutely no motive, unless of course someone paid them for it, which again raises the question as to who made the payment. From the scale of the destruction it is pretty obvious that this was no random mischief committed by intoxicated youngsters.
If the vandalism was preplanned, then who planned it? There is certainly no dearth of groups in the Maldives who believe tombstones must be destroyed. But as there are ongoing investigations, it may be out of place here to speculate about possible culprits.
Apart from a few mosque inscriptions and copper plates, tombstones in various parts of the Maldives are the only material evidence available on Maldivian history. The most important collections of tombstones are in Hukuru Misky and Koagannu in Meedhoo, Addu Atoll (see picture above). A large number of tombstones in Koagannu were vandalized in the recent past based on a superstition that if one breaks a tombstone one could commit Quran to memory.
Whoever did the destruction and whatever the reason, the act must be condemned in the strongest terms and the perpetrators brought to justice.