The Maldivian government has issued a statement denouncing the Opposition's mockery of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during this year's Eid parades. Traditional Maldivian dances performed during the festival of Eid al-Adha include a genre known as "maali" dancing, which involve dancers costumed as evil demons.
This year, the Opposition organized "maali" dances in Male City where performers wore masks bearing the face of the Indian Prime Minister and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The Maldivian government criticized this act and released a press statement in English instead of the national language, Dhivehi.
The government strongly condemned the Opposition's use of Prime Minister Modi's face as a "demon mask" during the dances and accused them of disseminating misinformation in such public events under the "India Out" slogan. Furthermore, the government described the dance as "dishonorable" as it targeted one of the Maldives' "key bilateral partners" and its leadership. The statement criticized this act for fostering "hostility" and tarnishing the Maldives' "long-standing cordial ties with India" during the Eid festivities.
The statement highlighted that the relationship between the Maldives and India is based on shared historical and cultural ties, with India consistently being the Maldives' closest ally and trusted neighbor. It acknowledged India's unwavering support across various aspects for the people of Maldives. The statement also emphasized the recent elevation of bilateral ties to new heights through the dedicated efforts of leadership from both nations. The government expressed appreciation for India's "Neighbourhood First Policy" and reiterated its commitment to the "India First" policy, aiming to strengthen the existing bonds between the two countries.
Additionally, the Maldivian government urged all parties to act responsibly, avoiding disrespectful actions and the dissemination of false information that could undermine the country's relations with its neighbors and the international community.
It is worth noting that though the Maldivian government swiftly condemned the Opposition's lampooning of the Indian Prime Minister during the Eid festival, it has never issued similar condemnations against the BJP and its affiliated Hindutva groups for their persecution, harassment, and attacks on Muslims during significant Muslim holidays and observances such as Eid and Ramadan.
Previously, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih issued a presidential decree to block the "India Out" campaign, which had emerged as a grassroots effort to voice concerns about the increasing Indian military presence in the Maldives. Although three of Dhiyares Media's co-founders filed a case to challenge the decree in court, only one hearing has taken place thus far.
It should be noted that Prime Minister Modi has faced international criticism for his alleged involvement in the 2002 massacre of over 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat. International human rights organizations like Transparency International and Human Rights Watch have documented a significant rise in hate crimes against Muslims since Modi assumed office. However, despite these concerns, President Solih bestowed upon Prime Minister Modi the highest honor the Maldivian State can bestow upon an individual.