Maldives Govt Suspends Ministers Over Derogatory Remarks Against India, PM Modi: Reports

Maldives Govt Suspends Ministers Over Derogatory Remarks Against India, PM Modi: Reports

The controversy arose last Thursday when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a video of his recent visit to Lakshadweep to promote tourism in the region.

Tejas JoshiUpdated: Sunday, January 07, 2024, 05:43 PM IST
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Mariyam Shiuna, Malsha Sharyf and Mahzoom Majid |

The Maldives government on Saturday suspended three deputy ministers Mariyam Shiuna, Malsha Sharyf and Mahzoom Majid over their derogatory comments against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his visit to Lakshadweep.

Maldives govt spokesperson Ibrahim Khaleel, confirming the development, said, "All government officials responsible for the comments have been suspended from their post effective immediately."

What is the entire controversy?

The controversy arose last Thursday when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a video of his recent visit to Lakshadweep to promote tourism in the region. This led to a verbal war on social media between Indian and Maldivian users.

The situation escalated quickly, leading to highly inappropriate comments against India and racial criticisms against Indians. Maryam Shiuna and Malsha Sharyf, deputy ministers in the youth ministry, drew attention when they insulted the Indian Prime Minister. Although Shiuna's tweet has been deleted, she had referred to the Indian Prime Minister as a clown, while Malsha shared Modi's video on X with derisive emojis.

Maldives govt had distanced itself from comments

Earlier in the day, the Maldives govt released a statement warning its unruly ministers against making 'derogatory remarks' in relation to 'foreign leaders and high-ranking officials'. The statement came in the wake of backlash over minister in newly-elected Mohamed Muizzu government and other leaders using derogatory and racist slurs against Indians and PM Modi over his tourism push for Lakshadweep.

Comments personal opinion, do not represent govt views: Maldives

The island country said that the comments made by some of its ministers 'do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives'.

"The Government of Maldives is aware of derogatory remarks on social media platforms against foreign leaders and high-ranking individuals. These opinions are personal and do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives," the statement said.

"The Government believes that the freedom of expression should be exercised in a democratic and responsible manner, and in ways that do not spread hatred, negativity, and hinder close relationships between the Maldives and its international partners," it added.

Taking a stern stand against the comments, the government statement said, "Moreover, the relevant authorities of the Government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks."

Approximately an hour after the Maldivian foreign ministry issued a statement warning of action against individuals making "derogatory" remarks, Maryam Shiuna, Malsha Shareef, and another deputy minister at the youth ministry, Mahzoom Majid, were suspended. An official from the President's Office confirmed the suspensions but did not provide further details, reports said.

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