What is the uproar in the media there over Maldives minister’s indecent comment on PM Narendra Modi?

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What is the uproar in the media there over Maldives minister's indecent comment on PM Narendra Modi?


When Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu was leaving for China on Sunday night, the country was embroiled in a separate social media battle with India.  Old relations were being severed.  It was as if the President’s ministers were attacking with swords in their mouths.  There was peace on the border but it was as if the social media was on fire.  The camps was getting closed. People were fighting, defending, getting entangled.  A government minister started it and then a ruckus broke out.  No matter how it happened, whatever happened was beyond imagination.  A government minister should never be so careless.  But perhaps the minister might have been in a hurry to please China.  Just as one person lights a match stick, another puts ghee in it and then the fire flares up, it happened like that.  Whatever happened was not normal.  It was surprising for any minister to call the Head of State of any country a clown, a stooge of any country.  Then President Mohammad Muizzu would not have even imagined that the matter would reach such heights.  The most difficult period of his presidency was about to come before him.  All this was happening when he was happily going on a tour of China with his cabinet.  Before this he had visited Turkey.  Although the previous President, due to strong relations with India, used to visit India earlier. But today the atmosphere has changed. The new President is a President with the support of China.

Lakshadweep vs Maldives debate

PM Modi had shared pictures of his visit to Lakshadweep on social media on January 4.  People also liked these pictures but many people said that now Indians should go to Lakshadweep and not Maldives.  PM Modi had also asked Indians to visit Lakshadweep in his tweet.  Prime Minister Modi’s objective was only to promote the beautiful tourist destinations of his country.  But Mariam Shiuna, a deputy minister in the Muizzu government, made an objectionable tweet on PM Modi’s pictures.  Shiuna targeted PM Modi by linking him with Israel and even called him a clown.  Maldivian leaders Malsha Sharif and Mahzoom Majeed were also seen cornering India.  Zaheer Rameez is a member of Maldives Senate, he wrote on social media on PM Modi’s Lakshadweep pictures, “It is a good step, but the talk of competing with us is misleading.  How can Indians be so clean?  The stench that never goes away from their rooms is a major nuisance.” 

Prime Minister Modi had not mentioned Maldives even once in his tweet but it is not known why the leaders of Maldives felt bad about Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep and its promotion or they felt a threat to their existence.  He started a campaign on social media.  They started saying that Maldives is very good. India cannot compete with them, a campaign was run on this. Even the Indian media could not take it lightly.  Many other famous personalities from the film world took the Maldives government on toe. The debate started on social media.  People like Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan,  Shraddha Kapoor, player sachin Tendulkar jumped into this debate.  The 20 year old record of searching Maldives on the internet was broken.  The government of Maldives realized its mistake.  The minister got the tweet deleted in a hurry.  Other ministers were seen saying that the views of any one person should not be taken as the views of the government.  Some other people also came forward and started handling the situation.  But by then it was too late.  The damage that was to be done had already been done.  Camping started in Indian media against Maldives.  If the matter was about Modi ji, many big personalities joined this campaign.  Even the Indian government could not take the objectionable things that were said against Prime Minister Modi lightly.  When the government started protesting, the Maldives government dismissed its three ministers.  Now the people there started to understand that by opposing India, they were not going to get any benefit but their own people were going to be harmed.  Because whether Indians provide the biggest employment to Maldives in tourism or not, Indians constitute the largest number of tourists in Maldives.  Maldives is beginning to understand that a big mistake has been made in the New Year and it may resolve the matter somehow, but the rift that has occurred will probably leave a very long impact.

What is the stir in Maldives media?

 According to the report of Maldivian media group The Edition, the Maldives government has suspended three deputy ministers who made objectionable comments on Indian PM Narendra Modi’s decision to increase tourism in Lakshadweep.

 It has been written in the report of The Edition that the government should take action against these irresponsible people.  It was also written that action has been taken against some people.  It is also being said that all this has harmed Maldives’ tourism and tarnished the country’s image.  The talk of cancellation of trips by Indians is also being given space in the Indian media because Indians constitute the largest number of tourists in Maldives.

 How many Indians go to Maldives every year?

The public is on the boil in India.  ‘Is My Trip’ CEO Nishant wrote a post on social media and said – We stand with our country and have suspended flight bookings to Maldives.

Every year a large number of people go to Maldives from India.  However, if we look at the data of the last 3 years, there has been a slight decline in the number of Indian tourists.  There are many film celebrities also among those who visit Maldives.  However, Boycott Maldives is now trading.

Indian tourists in Maldives: 2021:2.91 lakh, 2022: 2.41 lakh, 2023: 1.93 lakh(Source: Indian High Commission Maldives)


How many people come from where to Maldives?

 Maldives’ media organization AVAS has published a report on the number of tourists coming to the country.  In this report of December 2023, it has been said that most of the tourists coming to Maldives are Indians.

 According to this report:

 India: 2 lakh 5 thousand

 Russia: 2 lakh 3 thousand

 China: 1 lakh 85 thousand

 UK: 1 lakh 52 thousand

 Germany: 1 lakh 32 thousand

 Italy: 1 lakh 11 thousand

 America: 73 thousand

Objection from former leaders of Maldives

Solih had said “I condemn the use of hate language against India on social media by Maldivian government officials.  India has always been a good friend of Maldives and we should not allow such insensitive statements to negatively impact the years-old friendship between our two countries.

 Solih’s party MDP also issued a statement condemning these statements of the Muizzu government.

Relations between India and Maldives remained close during Solih’s presidency.

Former Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed had also said, “Maldives Government Minister Maryam is speaking appalling language for a major ally country which is important for the security and prosperity of Maldives.”  Muizzu government should stay away from such statements.  At the same time, it should be made clear that these are not the views of the government.

What’s trending on social media in Maldives?

Many important personalities of Maldives are expressing their opinion on this matter.

Maldives Parliament Speaker Mohammed Aslam wrote on social media, “The objectionable remarks made by some deputy ministers on PM Modi are not the thinking of the people of Maldives.  India and Maldives share respect and cooperation, which benefits both.  Let us strengthen this relationship and improve our mutual relations.”

Ahmed Adeeb is the former Tourism Minister of Maldives.  He writes on social media, “We built the tourism industry of Maldives on the principles of peace, harmony, tolerance and hospitality.  We got here through global brands and investments, including support from India.  Only then did we achieve success and were able to transform Maldives into a luxury resort destination.”

 Maldives MP Hussain Sahim says, “India has always been a friend and close ally of Maldives.  The comments of people holding top positions in the government are condemnable.” 

                    The conclusion is that the people of Maldives are understanding this much and they have thrown a spark on a pile of gunpowder.  Now no matter how much he tries to save himself, he is bound to come under the influence of the blast.  Anyway, whoever has fought with Prime Minister Modi has chosen the path of destruction.  Pakistan and Canada are examples.  Now Maldives has also probably taken the same path.  We should not forget that we have long had close relations with Maldives.  This is the same country where when there was a political crisis, India had proposed military intervention and India had contributed in restoring peace there.  Today that country is sitting in the lap of China and showing its eyes to India.  Time will definitely show its eyes to Maldives also.

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