Prominent celebrities and social media influencers, including former cricketers Venkatesh Prasad, Sachin Tendulkar and Aakash Chopra, have joined an online campaign which calls for a boycott of the Maldives tourism after a minister of the island nation made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Saturday, Chopra took to X and posted: “‘India Out’ was a part of the manifesto. Maldives voted for it. Now, it’s up to us, Indians, to choose wisely. I know that my family will. Jai Hind”.
Actor Akshay Kumar also condemned the comments and emphasized the need to support Indian tourism and explore islands in the country.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar didn’t name Maldives but joined the online campaign to popularize Indian beaches and tourist spots.
Actor John Abraham tweeted under the trend #exploreindianislands and appealed tourists to flock to Lakshadweep.
Social media influencer Sonam Mahajan also appealed Indians to cancel trips to Maldives in the wake of recent comments by a Maldive minister.
“Dear Indians, please listen to Maldivian ministers who desperately want Indians out. Cancel your travel plans (if any) for the Maldives as soon as possible. Why do you want to go to a country whose people hate you? Lakshadweep awaits you,” wrote Mahajan.
Another social media influencer tweeted a picture of sunrise in Lakshadweep and pleaded Indians to visit the island instead of Maldives. “Sunrise in #Lakshdweep India. You won’t see this in Maldives,” Baba Banaras captioned the picture.
The ongoing tussle traces its origin to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Lakshadweep, which spurred interest in the Indian island among travel enthusiasts. Maldives minister Mariyam Shiuna had derided Modi for his Lakshadweep visit, in a now-deleted post on X. Shiuna had encouraged tourists to visit the island country, through the #VisitMaldives trend. Some other Maldivian netizens also posted racist and insulting comments against Indians.
During his visit, Modi inaugurated several development projects and explored Lakshadweep’s beautiful beaches. Pictures of Modi while snorkeling in the sea went viral on social media and were top trending on X.
However, Modi’s attempt to boost tourism in Lakshadweep apparently irked some people in the Maldives, including government officials.