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Maldives minister derogatory remarks against PM Modi, government calls it ‘personal opinion’

2024-01-07 09:39:52

The Maldives government, in a statement on Sunday, rejected the derogatory remarks made by the country’s minister against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that they do not represent the views of the Maldivian government.

“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 official statement read.

“The Government believes 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. Moreover, the relevant authorities of the Government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks,” it added.

A row erupted after Maldivian politicians, including a minister, Mariyam Shiuna, mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Lakshadweep.

Shiuna, the Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment in the Maldives, called PM Modi a ‘clown’ and ‘puppet of Israel’ in now-deleted posts on X (formerly known as Twitter). The tweets were taken down after backlash on the micro-blogging site.

Another Maldivian leader and a member of the Progressive Party of Maldives Senate Zahid Rameez made comments ridiculing the beaches of Lakshadweep Island and raising doubts about whether the services offered by India’s Union Territory could compare to those provided by the Maldives.

“The move is great. However, the idea of competing with us is delusional. How can they provide the service we offer? How can they be so clean? The permanent smell in the rooms will be the biggest downfall,” Rameez wrote on X.

The comments triggered a widespread outrage with several social media posts claiming that over 8,000 hotel bookings, as well as 2,500 flight tickets to the Maldives have been cancelled.

Meanwhile, the Indian government has raised strong objection with the Maldives over the derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by a minister of the island nation. The Indian High Commissioner has taken up the matter with the Mohamed Muizzu-led government in Male.

Published On:

Jan 7, 2024

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