Home Editor's Pick Indians react to Maldives Ministers’ jibe at PM Modi post Lakshadweep visit

Indians react to Maldives Ministers’ jibe at PM Modi post Lakshadweep visit

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The jibe from Maldivian ministers against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sparked outrage on social media. Indian netizens have also threatened to boycott Maldives which is heavily dependent upon India for tourism. As a result, hashtags like #BoycottMaldives, #ExploreIndianIslands #MaldivesOut and #Lakshadweeptourism are trending on social media.
In the first week of January this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to India’s Union Territory Lakshadweep islands and shared glimpses from his experience on social media including participating in water sports. Soon after, Lakshadweep, India and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the target on social media by three now-suspended Maldivian Deputy Ministers who posted distasteful remarks about the nation and its PM. The ministers mocked PM Modi by calling him a “terrorist”, “clown” and “Israeli puppet” and one of the ministers Mariyam Shiuna also compared India with “cow dung”.
Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Information and Arts have reportedly been suspended after their social media jibe against India and its Prime Minister. The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has also reportedly raised the issue with the Maldives’ government. As per reports, the Maldivian envoy to India was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday and concern over social media derogatory remarks against PM Modi made by three deputy ministers in the Maldivian cabinet was conveyed to them.

Social Media Outrage

Not only netizens but Indian celebrities from the world of sports and cinema have also opened up against the derogatory remarks made by foreign nationals against the Indian government and the nation. Celebs are urging netizens to choose Lakshadweep and other Indian islands as their next travel destination using hashtags like #ExploreIndianIslands.

 

Akshay Kumar speaks against “unprovoked hate”

“Came across comments from prominent public figures from Maldives passing hateful and racist comments on Indians. Surprised that they are doing this to a country that sends them the maximum number of tourists. We are good to our neighbors but why should we tolerate such unprovoked hate? I’ve visited the Maldives many times and always praised it, but dignity first. Let us decide to #ExploreIndianIslands and support our own tourism,” tweeted Bollywood supertar Akshay Kumar.

Sachin Tendulkar and Salman Khan promote Indian Islands

“250+ days since we rang in my 50th birthday in Sindhudurg! The coastal town offered everything we wanted, and more. Gorgeous locations combined with wonderful hospitality left us with a treasure trove of memories. India is blessed with beautiful coastlines and pristine islands. With our ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ philosophy, we have so much to explore, so many memories waiting to be created,” tweeted cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar using the hashtag #ExploreIndianIslands.
“It is so cool to see our Hon PM Narendrabhai Modi at the beautiful clean n stunning beaches of Lakshadweep, and the best part is that yeh hamare India mein hain (this is located in India),” tweeted superstar Salman Khan.

 

Virender Sehwag and Amitabh Bachchan react

“Whether it be the beautiful beaches of Udupi, Paradise Beach in Pondi, Neil and Havelock in Andaman, and many other beautiful beaches throughout our country, there are so many unexplored places in Bharat which have so much potential with some infrastructure support. Bharat is knowing for converting all Aapda into Avsar, and this dig at our country and our Prime Minister by Maldives ministers is a great Avsar for Bharat to create just the necessary infrastructure to make them attractive to tourists and boost our economy. Please do name your favourite unexplored beautiful places,” posted Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag.
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan replied to Virender Sehwag’s tweet, “Viru paji .. this is so relevant and in the right spirit of our land .. our own are the very best .. I have been to Lakshadweep and Andamans and they are such astonishingly beautiful locations .. stunning waters beaches and the underwater experience is simply unbelievable.” He added in Hindi, “We are India, we are self-reliant, do not harm our self-reliance. Jai Hind.”
Reacting to the tweet by Progressive Party of Maldives leader Zahid Rameez, who tweeted about Indian rooms having “permanent smell” and asked “how can they be so clean”,

 

Kangana Ranaut responds

Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut called him “vulgarly racist”. The actress tweeted, “Smell?? Permanent smell?? What!!! Suffering from massive Muslim phobia, even though belonging to the same community. Lakshadweep consists of 98 percent of Muslim population, this prominent public figure from Maldives calling them smelly and lowly is rather racist and uninformed. Mr Zahid, Lakshadweep’s entire population is hardly 60 thousands people, which means it’s almost untouched, unexplored and unexploited natural island. For most people tourism is not just filthy luxury, it is rather exploration of nature, alignment with the source and above all experiencing and enjoying the raw, untouched beauty of virgin beaches. Shame on you for being so crass and vulgarly racist.”

Flight bookings to Maldives suspended

One of the largest online travel booking platforms Ease My Trip on Monday indefinitely suspended all flight bookings to the Maldives, which is heavily dependent on India for tourism. As per information revealed by the Maldives Tourism Ministry, in 2023, the highest number of tourists who visited Maldives travelled from India (2,09,198). This was followed by Russia (2,09,146) and China on (1,87,118).

Projects launched by PM Modi in Lakshadweep

During his visit to the Union Territory in the first week of January, PM Narendra Modi inaugurated Kochi-Lakshadweep islands submarine optical fiber connection project in Kavaratt. He also laid the stone for various developmental projects worth more than Rs 1,150 crore covering a wide range of sectors including technology, energy, water resources, healthcare and education.
The Kochi-Lakshadweep islands submarine optical fiber connection project is intended to an increase in internet speed in the islands. For the first time since independence, Lakshadweep will be connected through Submarine Optic Fibre Cable. The dedicated submarine OFC will ensure a paradigm shift in communication infrastructure in the Lakshadweep islands, enabling faster and more reliable internet services, telemedicine, e-governance, educational initiatives, digital banking, digital currency usage, digital literacy etc.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said, “Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection (KLI – SOFC) project has been dedicated to people today and will ensure 100 times faster Internet for the people of Lakshadweep. This will improve facilities like government services, medical treatment, education and digital banking. The potential of developing Lakshadweep as a logistics hub will get strength from this.”

 

PM’s interaction with Lakshadweep residents

“Recently, I had the opportunity to be among the people of Lakshadweep. I am still in awe of the stunning beauty of its islands and the incredible warmth of its people. I had the opportunity to interact with people in Agatti, Bangaram and Kavaratti. I thank the people of the islands for their hospitality. Here are some glimpses, including aerial glimpses from Lakshadweep…” PM Modi posted on X along with photographs from his visit to the islands.
The PM also interacted with beneficiaries of various Government of India schemes in Lakshadweep and wrote in a social media post, “It was a delight to interact with beneficiaries of various GoI schemes in Lakshadweep. A group of women talked about how their SHG worked towards starting a restaurant, thus becoming self-reliant; an elderly person shared how Ayushman Bharat helped in treating a heart ailment, and a woman farmer’s life changed due to PM-KISAN. Others talked about free ration, benefits for Divyangs, PM-AWAS, Kisan Credit Cards, Ujjwala Yojana and more. It is indeed satisfying to see the fruits of development reach a cross section of people, even in the more remote areas.”

PM Modi engaged in water sports in Lakshwadeep

PM Modi also shared a video from Lakshadweep on social media where he can be seen participating in snorkelling.
“For those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them, Lakshadweep has to be on your list. During my stay, I also tried snorkelling – what an exhilarating experience it was!,” the PM tweeted on Thursday.
Soon after, photographs of the PM performing snorkelling went viral on social media with Lakshadweep trending on all social media platforms and on Google search.

After PM Modi’s visit and the jibe by Maldivian Ministers, #LakshadweepTourism has been trending on social media platforms like X/Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and on the Google Search bar.