In response to widespread outrage on social media, the Maldives government, led by Mohamed Muizzu, has taken decisive action by suspending Mariyam Shiuna from her position as Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Information, and Arts. This action follows derogatory remarks made by Shiuna about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to a report by Atoll Times, the government has also suspended Ministers Malsha Shareef and Mahzoom Majid in connection with the controversial remarks. The move comes after the Indian government raised strong objections with the Maldivian authorities over Shiuna’s comments.
— Suryabhan Singh Vaghela (@suryabhansv) January 6, 2024
The Government of Maldives issued a token statement condemning derogatory remarks on social media platforms, asserting that such opinions are personal and do not represent the official stance of the Maldivian government. The statement also emphasised the authorities’ commitment to taking action against individuals making such comments.
The controversy began on January 4 when Prime Minister Modi shared pictures of his visit to Lakshadweep, encouraging people to explore the scenic island and boosting tourism with his ‘vocal for local’ slogan. Social media users in India responded by promoting Lakshadweep over foreign destinations, including the Maldives.
This sparked bitter reactions from Maldivian officials and citizens, leading to derogatory remarks against India, Indians, and Prime Minister Modi. Mariyam Shiuna, in particular, referred to PM Modi as a ‘clown’ and a ‘puppet of Israel’ in a tweet that was later deleted due to widespread backlash on social media.
It is noteworthy that PM Modi did not mention the Maldives in his tweets about Lakshadweep. The incident has heightened tensions between the two nations, with diplomatic channels addressing the concerns raised by the Indian government.