Maldives sacks 3 ministers for anti-Modi barb : The Tribune India

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Maldives sacks 3 ministers for anti-Modi barb

Maldives sacks 3 ministers for anti-Modi barb

Picture for representational purpose only.

Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, January 7

The Maldivian government on Sunday suspended three junior ministers who jumped into a social media fight and made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Row over Lakshadweep visit

While a social media fight erupted between Indian and Maldivian social media users over PM’s recent Lakshadweep visit, Maldives’ deputy minister Mariyam posted photos of the PM with disparaging remarks. The other two junior ministers copied her diatribe.

The suspensions took place after the Indian High Commission in Male had strongly raised with the Maldives Foreign Office the comments made in regard to Prime Minister Modi by certain ministers, said sources here.

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry said the derogatory remarks “do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives” and underlined that it believed that freedom of expression should be exercised in ways that do not spread hatred, negativity and hinder close relationships between the Maldives and its international partners.

“Moreover, the relevant authorities of the government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks,” said the statement.

The three deputy ministers suspended are Malsha Sharyf, Mariyam Shiuna and Mahzoom Majid, with the latter even deactivating his X account.

Ties between Maldives and India have been tense due to a series of actions taken by Male after Mohd Muizzu was elected President late last year, beating the pro-India incumbent, Ibu Solih. These were further inflamed after several Indian social media handles said PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep was meant to draw away Indian tourists from the Maldives. Incidentally, Muizzu began his six-day China visit on Sunday.

While a social media fight erupted between Indian and Maldivian social media users, deputy minister Mariyam intervened with a now-deleted post that showed photos of PM Modi in Lakshadweep with disparaging remarks. The other two junior ministers also copied her diatribe.

This prompted several Indian celebrities, including cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Venkatesh Prasad, actor Akshay Kumar and others, to directly or indirectly counter attack by Maldivian social media users.

While Tendulkar posted shots of him at a beach in Konkan, Akshay and several others reminded Maldivians that India was the biggest source of tourists and how New Delhi had repeatedly come to Male’s aid.

In a reply to Akshay, Maldives’ ruling party MP Zahid Rameez let out the underlying reason for the attack on PM Modi in particular. “My sentiments were expressed in the context of growing Indian influence in our political affairs in the past five years — with the former ruling party MDP to blame for it,’’ he posted.

There were also posts on social media claiming that some Indians had cancelled their trip to the Maldives in view of the row.

Maldives social media users pointed out that India did account for the highest number of tourists, but Europe and the US together contributed thrice the number of tourists who also paid five times more than an Indian tourist.

Leaders associated with MDP defended India and asked Muizzu’s government to distance itself from the comments. “What appalling language by Maldives government officials towards the leader of a key ally, that is instrumental for Maldives’ security and prosperity,’’ said former Maldives president Mohd Nasheed. Solih also condemned the ministers’ social media posts.

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#Lakshadweep #Maldives #Narendra Modi #Social Media

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