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Maldives Suspends Three Ministers Over Controversial Tweets On Indian PM Lakshwadeep Visit

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Following a social media backlash over the Indian prime minister’s visit to the Lakshadweep islands, the Maldives government “suspended” three deputy ministers and distanced themselves from their disparaging social media posts.

Earlier on Saturday, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party supporters in India misrepresented Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep over the New Year’s weekend as a suggestion to Indian travellers that they should think about visiting other Indian tourist destinations instead of the Maldives.

At least three officials and members of parliament from the ruling Maldives government responded by posting ripostes criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian behaviour. The social media commotion was further fuelled by Bollywood movie stars, many of whom are well-known in the Maldives, tweeting their refusal to travel to the island nation in the Indian Ocean as a result of the offensive posts made by Maldivian ministers.

On the same day that Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu left for a five-day visit to China, the controversy broke out. The Maldivian government released a statement on Sunday afternoon tying itself to those comments.

The foreign ministry released a statement that stated, “TThe 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.”

“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,” it declared, is how freedom of expression should be exercised.

Additionally, the Maldives government was cautioned in the statement that it “will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks.”

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