Male: The Maldivian government on Sunday suspended its three ministers for remarks against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his Lakshadweep visit, local media reported.
The ministers — Mariyam Shiuna, Malsha and Hassan Zihan — have been suspended for their derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi on X, Atoll Times reported.
It all began when these ministers and some other leaders in the Maldives posted derogatory remarks against Modi after he posted several photos and videos from his recent visit to Lakshadweep. His posts where he was seen snorkelling went viral, prompting social media users to suggest India’s smallest Union Territory as an alternate tourist destination to the Maldives.
Though Prime Minister Modi promoted Lakshadweep as a tourist destination and did not even mention Maldives, irked ministers of the Island country said: “India faces significant challenges in competing with the Maldives in beach tourism.”
In the post, Shiuna shared a video and referred to Prime Minister Modi in a derogatory way. Malsha also shared Modi’s video on X using mocking emoji.
Maldives is made up of more than a 100 islands dotted with luxury resorts.
The post was deleted after backlash on X, where Indian social media users slammed the Maldivian government officials, including Shiuna.
In a statement, the Maldivian foreign ministry said it was 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 read.
An official from the President’s Office confirmed the suspensions, but did not provide further details.
Bollywood celebs urged their fans to explore Indian islands after Maldives politician Zahid Rameez criticised Modi’s recent visit to Lakshadweep.
'Promote Indian islands'
Bollywood stars Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Shraddha Kapoor and John Abraham took to their social media accounts to promote Indian islands.
Salman took to his X, erstwhile Twitter on Sunday, and wrote, “It is so cool to see our Hon PM Narendrabhai Modi at the beautiful clean n stunning beaches of Lakshadweep, and the best part is that yeh hamare India mein hain.”
Akshay Kumar shared screenshots of the racist tweets and wrote, “Came across comments from prominent public figures from Maldives passing hateful and racist comments on Indians. Surprised that they are doing this to a country that sends them the maximum number of tourists.”
He further mentioned, “We are good to our neighbours but why should we tolerate such unprovoked hate? I’ve visited the Maldives many times and always praised it, but dignity first. Let us decide to #ExploreIndianIslands and support our own tourism.”
Actress Shraddha Kapoor, who was last seen in the Luv Ranjan directorial ‘Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar’, said in her post, “All these images and memes making me super FOMO now. Lakshadweep has such pristine beaches and coastlines, thriving local culture, I’m on the verge of booking an impulse chhutti. This year, why not #ExploreIndianIslands.”
John, who was last seen in the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer blockbuster film ‘Pathaan’, wrote on X, “With the amazing Indian hospitality, the idea of “Atithi Devo Bhava” and a vast marine life to explore. Lakshwadeep is the place to go. #exploreindianislands.”
Zahid Rameez, a council member of the Progressive Party of Maldives, had mocked the PM’s visit, and said India would never be able to compete with Maldives in regards to tourism.