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Maldivian politician apologises after ‘disrespectful’ post on Indian flag


A suspended junior minister of Maldives’ ruling party ignited controversy with a social media post, misusing elements of the Indian national flag to target the opposition party. Belonging to Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu’s party, Mariyam Shiuna used the now-deleted post as a political prop, featuring a Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) campaign poster with the party’s logo replaced by the Ashok Chakra on the Tricolour.

In the post, Shiuna remarked, “The MDP is heading towards a big slip. The people of Maldives don’t want to fall and slip with them.” This row came a few months after the same minister faced severe backlash from Indian social media users for hateful remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which later led to her suspension, along with two other deputy ministers.

After the latest uproar over her post, Shiuna expressed regret for any confusion or offense caused. She clarified that the resemblance to the Indian flag in the image was unintentional and conveyed the Maldives’ “deep respect for India.” In a post on social media, she said, “I extend my sincerest apologies for any confusion or offense caused by the content of my recent post. It was brought to my attention that the image used in my response to the Maldivian opposition party MDP bore a resemblance to the Indian flag. I want to make it clear that this was entirely unintentional, and I sincerely regret any misunderstanding it may have caused.”

“Maldives deeply value its relationship and the mutual respect we share with India. In future, I will be more vigilant in verifying the content I share to prevent such oversights,” she added. Despite Shiuna’s expression of regret, Indian social media users were outraged.

The incident unfolded a few days after Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer thanked India for renewing the trade quota, allowing the export of certain quantities of essential commodities for the island nation. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar responded, reaffirming India’s commitment to its Neighbourhood First and SAGAR policies. Despite strained relations, India remains a vital economic partner for the Maldives, supplying essential commodities such as rice and medicine.

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