The suspended deputy ministers (R-L): Shiuna, Mahzoom and Malsha.

Maldives suspends 3 officials over 'derogatory' India remarks

Maryam Shiuna and Malsha Shareef along with another deputy minister at the youth ministry Mahzoom Majid were suspended.

7 January 2024

Authorities in Maldives on Sunday suspended three deputy ministers who have come under fire for their posts on X in which they are seen verbally abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India.

Last Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a video of his recent visit to Lakshadweep to promote tourism in the region.

Some Indians have said that Modi's video was released to tell people that Indians do not have to go to Maldives for holidays and can experience the beauty of Maldives while staying in their own country.

  • An Indian social media activist reposted Modi's video and called Maldives a 'puppet country of China'

  • Claiming that Modi's video is a challenge to Maldives's tourism, some political activists in Maldives also wrote responses to the post

The threat quickly got out of hand, and comments that were highly inappropriate to make against one’s neighbouring country started appearing. People also started racially criticising Indians. Maryam Shiuna and Malsha warning, who are deputies in the youth ministry, took the cake when they insulted the Indian prime minister himself.

Shiuna's tweet has now been deleted but she had described the Indian Prime Minister as a clown. Malsha also shared Modi's video on X using derisive emoji.

About an hour after the Maldivian foreign ministry issued a statement warning action against individuals who had made "derogatory" remarks concerning, Maryam Shiuna and Malsha Shareef along with another deputy minister at the youth ministry Mahzoom Majid were suspended. 

An official from the President's Office confirmed the suspensions, but did not provide further details.

In its statement, the Maldivian foreign ministry said it was 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 statement read. 

"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 international partners."

The relevant authorities of the government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks, the foreign ministry added.