The Maldives government on Sunday suspended three deputy ministers after their social media posts made “derogatory remarks” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a statement, the government said it “will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks”.
A post by Maldives deputy minister of youth empowerment Mariyam Shiuna after Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep has triggered a massive social media backlash, with many Indian celebrities, including actor Akshay Kumar and ex-cricketer Aakash Chopra, joining the calls to boycott the island nation.
Along with Shiuna, Malsha Sharif and Mahzoom Maajid are also suspended.
In a statement, the government said: “The 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.”
Shiuna’s now-deleted post featured photos of Modi from his recent visit to Lakshadweep.
“What a clown. The puppet of Israel Mr. Narendra diver with life jacket. #VisitMaldives #SunnySideOfLife,” the post said.
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu came to power last year with an “India-out” campaign.
Unlike most of his predecessors who visited India first after being elected, Muizzu has opted for an ‘India-out’ policy by choosing Turkey as his first foreign destination.
In November 2023, the Maldives government formally requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the island nation.