Maldivian politician Zahid Rameez and minister Mariyam Shiuna’s racist remarks targeting Indians and mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for pitching Lakshadweep as a tourist destination has triggered widespread condemnation. #BoycottMaldives began trending on social media and several Indians, including celebrities, claimed to have cancelled their planned trips to the island nation.
Several users shared photos of picturesque Lakshadweep islands and celebrities promoted Indian tourism in reaction to the anti-India barbs by Maldivian leaders.
Bollywood actor John Abraham took to X and recommended visiting Lakshadweep islands. “With the amazing Indian hospitality, the idea of “Atithi Devo Bhava” and a vast marine life to explore. Lakshwadeep is the place to go,” he wrote.
Actor Akshay Kumar urged people of the country to promote the nation’s tourism and wrote, “Came across comments from prominent public figures from the 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 neighbours, 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,” he said.
A user wrote, “Was planning to go to Maldives for my birthday which falls on 2nd of February. Had almost finalised the deal with my travel agent, But immediately cancelled it after seeing this tweet of the deputy minister of the Maldives. #boycottmaldives.”
Rameez, a member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), in one of the tweets, shared an India Today report on the significance of PM Modi’s Lakshadweep visit, and accused India of “copying a small economy like Sri Lanka” to make money.
“It is very sad that a big country like India is trying to make money by copying a small economy like Sri Lanka,” the Maldivian MP wrote on X.
After pictures of PM Modi’s visit and snorkelling in Lakshadweep gained wide attention, several people on social media have been comparing the island with the Maldives, a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches. Lakshadweep has also became the most searched tourist destination in the past few days.
Rameez also made controversial remarks on January 5, sharing another tweet which claimed that PM Modi’s move was a “big setback” for the Maldives and “will boost” tourism in Lakshadweep.
“The move is great. However, the idea of competing with us is delusional. How can they provide the service we offer? How can they be so clean? The permanent smell in the rooms will be the biggest downfall,” he stated.
Following the controversy, Rameez retweeted another post, which said, “While you’re at it, do remember how it all started. All of the tweets were posted after this disrespectful and unnecessary provocation. This government led by President @MMuizzu is nobody’s puppet, be it China, India or any other country.”
Besides him, minister, Mariyam Shiuna, also made derogatory remarks against PM Modi and called the Indian Prime Minister a “clown” and “puppet” in now-deleted posts on X. The tweets were taken down after backlash on the micro-blogging site.
Later, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed condemned the country’s leaders’ derogatory remarks against PM Modi. He said the language used by the minister Mariyam Shiuna was “appalling” and said India was a “key ally” for the security and prosperity of the island nation.
Source: India Today