By: Annet Preethi Furtado
January 10 2024
Screenshots of the claim that a video depicts a protest in the Maldives against Prime Minister Narendra Modi amidst the ongoing tension between India and the Maldives. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
A video from a protest in the Maldives against PM Modi in June 2023 is being shared as recent amid the current India-Maldives dispute.
In January 2024, tensions escalated between India and the Maldives following a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Lakshadweep islands, aimed at boosting tourism. The conflict arose when Maldivian ministers Mariyam Shiuna, Malsha Sharif, and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid made disrespectful comments targeting India and PM Modi.
These comments were allegedly provoked by the prime minister's sharing of photos and videos from his Lakshadweep visit, seen by some as attempts to promote the Indian archipelago as an alternative tourist destination to the Maldives.
Subsequently, these ministers were removed from their positions by the Maldives government in response to the offensive remarks. This incident triggered a significant number of individuals in India to pledge to abstain from traveling to the Maldives. The movement gained momentum, with the hashtag #BoycottMaldives going viral on various social media platforms.
What is the claim?
Amid the escalating diplomatic dispute, a video lasting over a minute is circulating on X (formerly Twitter). The footage depicts a rally with protesters wearing masks resembling PM Modi. One individual is seen wearing a garland made of slippers. Additionally, the video captures demonstrators holding banners with the message "India Out," while others are seen waving red and green flags.
This video was posted on X with captions such as "Jihadis in Maldives insulting OUR Prime Minister. All Indians should boycott the Maldives." This X post garnered over 47,600 views. Another post featuring a screenshot from the same video was captioned, ''What’s happening in Maldives? Why portray them as clowns? What is the purpose of this protest?'' accompanied by ‘#maldivesboycott’ among other hashtags.
Screenshots of the viral claim. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
The video also surfaced on Facebook with a caption: "A huge protest in Maldives against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After a week ago, Maldives Prime Minister's controversial statement #maldives #india #politicalway #narendramodi #tourism #boycottmaldives #lakshdweep."
However, it's crucial to note that the video predates the ongoing India-Maldives dispute and was captured during a protest in the Maldives in June 2023.
What we found
Upon conducting a reverse image search using keyframes from the viral video, we uncovered a July 1, 2023 Scroll report titled "After 'India Out' protests, Maldives government issues condemnation." The report detailed an anti-India demonstration in the Maldives on June 29, 2023, where protestors wore masks resembling PM Narendra Modi and displayed banners reading “India Out.” Following the protest, the Maldives foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the agitation, attributing blame to the country’s opposition parties.
Screenshot of the Scroll article. (Source: Scroll/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Furthermore, the report referenced a post on X from June 2023, which included a 23-second video accompanied by the caption ''#IndiaOut.'' This video corresponds precisely to the visuals starting at around 53 seconds in the viral footage.
In this segment, three individuals wearing Modi masks, one with a garland made of slippers, are leading a group of protestors waving green and red flags. Additionally, a man in a black t-shirt and blue jeans can be observed in the frame.
Comparison of screenshots from the video in the viral claim (on the left) and the June 2023 protest (on the right). (Source: X/ Screenshots/ Modified by Logically Facts)
Similarly, a Hindustan Times YouTube video from July 2023 featured visuals from the viral video, reporting that the Maldivian government initiated damage control following the "India Out" campaign by the country's opposition during Eid-Al-Adha.
'India Out' protests in the Maldives
The Indian Express reported that the 'India Out' campaign began with on-ground protests in the Maldives in 2020 and subsequently gained extensive momentum on social media platforms, using the phrase along with a corresponding hashtag.
According to a December 2021 report by The Hindu, the 'India Out' (#IndiaOut) campaign occasionally surfaced in the Maldives following the assumption of office by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. This campaign was reportedly led by government critics who accused the Solih administration of letting "Indian boots on the ground," purportedly jeopardizing the sovereignty of the island nation.
In April 2022, The Hindu reported that President Solih of the Maldives, at that time, issued a decree prohibiting the 'India Out' campaign, citing it as a "threat to national security."
A video originating from a protest held in the Maldives against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2023 is circulating with a misleading claim suggesting that it is a recent development amid the ongoing India-Maldives dispute. Therefore, we have marked the claim as misleading due to its misrepresentation of the timeline and context.