HomePolitics and Current AffairsMaldives suspends three ministers over Lakshadweep row

Maldives suspends three ministers over Lakshadweep row

Maldives is likely to get a setback with Indians cancelling their travel booking to Maldives over derogatory remarks on India and PM Modi

Maldives government has three ministers over their derogatory remarks on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These ministers included minister of youth empowerment and art Malsha Shareef, her deputy Mariyam Shiuna and minister of transport and civil aviation Hassan Zihan. 

The action to suspend three minister comes amid backlash over their derogatory and racist slurs against Indians and PM Modi over his tourism push for Lakshadweep. The Maldives government had earlier disturbed itself from the comments made by three of its ministers and said they ‘do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives'.

The government of Maldives has taken it seriously and has cautioned all its minister against making ‘derogatory remarks' about ‘foreign leaders and high-ranking officials'.

“The Government of Maldives is aware of derogatory remarks on social 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 partners,” it added.

How the row over Maldives started?

The prime minister Narendra Modi in a series of posts on X had appreciated the scenic and natural beauty of Lakshadweep during his visit to the union territory earlier this week. Without referring to Maldives, the prime  minister had posted – “the stunning beauty of its islands”, adding, that “for those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them, Lakshadweep has to be on your list.”

Taking note of posts, some prominent Maldivian users and local media responded to it with offensive and derogatory comments targeted at Indians at large, as well as the prime minister. 

Soon the exchange of posts between Maldivian and an Indian social media users turned into a heated war of words on X. 

Many personalities and tourism promoters joined the war and urged people to cancel their booking to Maldives.

India in top 10

According to the Maldives' official government figures, Indian tourists have consistently remained among the top ten nationalities who travel to the island every year. In 2023 alone, among the tourists who travelled to the Maldives, Indians formed the largest group of tourists with over 200,000 travellers, followed by tourists from Russia and China. The Maldives is heavily dependent on tourism and the industry accounts for over 28 percent of its GDP, according to a paper by the Michigan State University.

The BuckStopper Reporter
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The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.
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