Thiruvananthapuram: As the crisis in the Maldives worsens and India gets ready for a military intervention if called upon, Maldivians in Kerala are a worried lot. Just as thousands of Indians call Male home, thousands of Maldivians, too, are settled in Kerala.
Maldivians flock to Thiruvananthapuram in thousands every year for medical treatment and education.
Mohammad Farhad, First Secretary, Consulate of the Maldives, Thiruvananthapuram, says, "Trivandrum is very close to the Maldives. People mainly come here for medical treatment, as the health care facilities in Maldives are not as good as it is here."
62-year-old Abdullah Wahad reached Thiruvananthapuram a month ago for treatment at one of the private hospitals here. He was accompanied by his wife and brother who are suffering from mild heart problems. They are aware of the recent unrest in Maldives and are concerned about their relatives back home.
Says Abdullah Wahad in Dhivehi, the national language of the Maldives, "We are very concerned about what is happening in our country. There is fight between two parties. But we can't be afraid and not go back as that is our motherland."
Some of the Maldivians have married women from Kerala and settled down in the state permanently. The Kumarapuram area near Trivandrum Medical college has many hotels that cater exclusively to the Maldivians, even serving their local cuisine.
Shivakumar, a hotel owner, says, "Some people from the Maldives who have settled down here long ago, act as guides as they know our language well, apart from the locals. The problems in Maldives have not shown any impact here yet."
As the political crisis in Maldives worsens, Maldivians in Kerala are prepared to wait and watch, hoping to go back to a more peaceful country.