Maldives suspends three ministers over derogatory remarks against Indian PM Modi

The Maldivian government on Sunday (January 7, 2024) suspended three ministers for their alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi which triggered a row between the two nations.

 A file picture of Indian PM Narendra Modi meeting Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu. Photo Courtesy: PIB

The three ministers were identified as Mariyam Shiuna, Malsha Shareef and Mahzoom Majid.

 “Those who made such posts on social media while in government positions have now been suspended from their jobs,” read a statement issued by the country’s government as quoted by NDTV.

Also Read: ‘Boycott Maldives’ trends on social media after Minister’s post on PM Modi’s Lakshadweep visit riles Indians

This comes in the wake of Maldivian Minister Mariyam Shiuna’s disparaging comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “clown” and “puppet” in posts on X, which have since been deleted.

These tweets were removed following criticism and backlash on the micro-blogging site.

Mohamed Nasheed reacts

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed strongly criticized the disparaging remarks made by a Maldivian minister regarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi amidst a controversy ignited by the minister’s ridicule of PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep.

Nasheed voiced dismay at the offensive language used by Minister Mariyam Shiuna and stressed that India is a crucial ally for the security and well-being of the Maldives.

“What appalling language by Maldives Government official Mariyam Shiuna towards the leader of a key ally, that is instrumental for the Maldives’ security and prosperity. The Mohamed Muizzu government must distance itself from these comments and give clear assurance to India they do not reflect government policy (sic),” the Maldives’ first democratically-elected President, Nasheed, wrote on X.

India-Maldives relationship

The row erupted under the shadow of strained India-Maldives ties after President Mohamed Muizzu, who is seen as a pro-China politician, came to power.

Muizzu assumed the presidency of the Maldives in November 2023. As part of his election promise, he committed to withdrawing a group of approximately 75 Indian military personnel from his country and revising the Maldives’ longstanding “India first” policy.

‘Boycott Maldives’ is trending on social media following a tweet by a Maldives minister days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pictorial visit to the Lakshadweep archipelago.

PM Modi’s visit to the country’s smallest Union Territory comprising 36 islands with an area of 32 sq km was seen as a move to promote tourism on the island.