Your Voice, Our Strength

After Social Media Controversy, Maldives Govt ‘Suspends’ 3 Ministers for Derogatory Tweets on India’s Modi

Social media controversy erupted over his visit to the Lakshadweep islands.

New Delhi: The Maldives government has “suspended” three deputy ministers and distanced from their social media posts that were derogatory about the Indian prime minister after a social media controversy erupted over his visit to the Lakshadweep islands.

Earlier on Saturday, Indian supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party on social media had projected Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep over the New Year weekend as a signal to Indian tourists to consider replacing Maldives with other Indian tourist destinations.


In response, several members of the ruling Maldives government, including at least three officials and MPs, had posted riposte which criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the behaviour of Indians. Further fuel was added to the social media uproar with Bollywood film stars, many of whom are popular in Maldives, posting tweets that they will not visit the Indian Ocean island nation due to the insulting posts by Maldivian ministers.

The controversy erupted on the same day that Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu embarked on a five-day visit to China.

On Sunday afternoon, the Maldivian government issued a statement disassociating itself from those remarks.

“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,” said the statement issued by the foreign ministry.

It asserted that 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”.

The statement also warned that the Maldives government “will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks”.

A couple of hours later, the president’s office informed reporters in Malé through WhatsApp that three ministers have been suspended. They have been identified in the Maldivian media as deputy ministers in the youth ministry, Malsha Sharif, Mariyum Shiuna and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid.

There has been no official statement from the president’s office about the suspension, which stops them from representing the government, but is less than a removal from the cabinet. It is also not clear how long the ‘suspension’ will last.

Official sources said that the Indian High Commission also sought clarification from the Maldives government about the social media remarks of the Maldivian government officials. “Our High Commission in Maldives had strongly raised and expressed concerns about  the comments made in regard to PM by certain ministers in the Maldives government with the Foreign Office today,” said the sources.

Earlier in the day, former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed had singled out Mariyum Shiuna for her “appalling language” towards the “leader of a key ally, that is instrumental for Maldives’ security and prosperity”.

He had also urged President Muizzu to “distance itself from these comments and give clear assurance to India they do not reflect gov policy”.

You might also like