Maldivians have been posting pictures of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on trash cans around the country.
According to The Maldives Journal, the protest comes amid widespread anger over BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s mockery of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Modi’s photo was displayed in the Hulhumale’ Beach area, parks, and dustbins in Hulhumale’ Phase II. Photos show Modi’s face covered with shoes.
Sharma, who was a spokesperson of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made the remark in a televised debate last month, and videos of her statement have gone viral.
Naveen Jindal, who was media head of the party’s Delhi unit, also posted a provocative tweet on the issue.
Hate speech and attacks against Muslims have risen sharply since the BJP came to power in 2014.
The two leaders have issued public apologies and the party has suspended Ms Sharma and expelled Mr Jindal.
The UAE, Oman, Indonesia, Iraq, the Maldives, Jordan, Libya and Bahrain have joined the growing list of countries in the Islamic world that have condemned the remarks. Earlier, Kuwait, Iran and Qatar had called Indian ambassadors to register their protest, and Saudi Arabia issued a strongly worded statement.
Anti-Indian sentiment has been growing in the Maldives due to the growing Indian military footprint in the country.
Since 2018, India has significantly stepped up its aid to the Muslim nation. A massive Indian-funded infrastructure project has been announced that will include new bridges linking the crowded capital to three neighbouring islands. There are also plans for India to help construct a new coast guard base near Malé.
But one of the most controversial elements of India’s role involves contingents from the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in Addu as well as on islands in the centre and north of the country.