Maldives Government clears the air around the statement of the Island’s Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment

The Maldives government distances itself from the deputy minister’s statement

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On Sunday, the Maldives government separated itself from the disparaging comments made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by its Minister Mariyam Shiuna.”Opinions are personal and do not represent the views of the Government of the Maldives,” the government said in a statement. “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 international partners,” the Maldives government statement added.“The relevant authorities of the government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks,” the statement added.

Shiuna, the Male City Council spokeswoman and Deputy Minister at the Maldives Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Information, and Art,  made derogatory comments in the wake of Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep. Despite the fact that Shiuna has now removed her tweets, the episode has caused tensions on the diplomatic front between the two neighbours.

Shuina’s tweet regarding Narendra Modi

Shiuna, the island nation’s deputy minister of youth empowerment, called Prime Minister Modi a “clown” and a “puppet” during his recent visit to Lakshadweep, sparking a huge uproar. Ex-president Mohammad Nasheed condemned Shiuna’s remark, calling it ‘appalling’. But the minister quickly removed the tweet due to criticism over the comment, which had caused a significant social media response.

“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,” Nasheed said in an X post.

The Maldives government issued a statement in response to India’s declaration that the junior lady minister’s remarks were completely inappropriate and uncalled for. The junior minister’s obscene remark was made when Maldivian President Muhammad Muizzu travelled to Beijing to request funding.

Further context

Muizzu departed for China on January 6 and is anticipated to return on January 10, following a fund-seeking tour to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The junior lady minister’s disparaging remark is a divisive lead-up to the Majlis election in April and reflects the pro-Hamas views of the Muizzu cabinet.

The Maldivian government distanced itself from the statement, but in the process, she ruined a bilateral relationship that was already tense since pro-China Muizzu assumed office on November 17.

A divisive campaign against India to win votes for the removal of Indian soldiers from the Maldives helped Sunni Salafi Muslim Muizzu win the election in the Maldives. Another issue is that there are no Indian army soldiers on the island where Muslims predominate, save from unarmed staff, two Indian helicopters that are rented, a Dornier jet, and an offshore petrol vessel.

By: Gursharan Kaur

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