Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry has called for the deportation order against USP Vice Chancellor Prof Pal Ahluwalia and his partner to be rescinded and for them to be allowed back into the country.
“We strongly condemn the high handed manner in which the VC and his partner were arrested and deported,” Mr Chaudhry said.
The Prime Minister as Minister for Immigration ordered the deportation, declaring the couple prohibited immigrants under Section 13 (2) (g) of the Immigration Act 2003.
The Prime Minister must explain to a horrified nation, and the international community, why Prof Ahaluwalia had to be deported in this outrageous manner.
“By no stretch of the imagination can Prof Pal be considered to have “conducted himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, security or good government of the Fiji Islands” as stated in his deportation order,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“In fact, he stood for human rights, good governance and public morality when he exposed corrupt elements within the USP who were enriching themselves at the expense of the university.
“He is regarded as a role model and held in high esteem by the staff and students of the university and the people of Fiji. He was strongly supported by all the regional governments (except Fiji) in the recent controversy surrounding the affairs of the USP under the previous VC.
“How can such conduct be seen as a threat to the public safety and the defence and security of Fiji?” Mr Chaudhry asked.
“His deportation was in fact a well-timed move to pre-empt a USP Council meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Friday 5 February) which was to have decided the fate of the anti-VC elements within USP,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“I expect the USP Council to take a strong stance against such Gestapo-style behavior by the Fiji authorities.
“I call on the people of Fiji to protest in the strongest terms against such blatant abuse of authority to protect corrupt elements in our society.
“It is a clear case of politics of fear at work – an attempt to crush all forms of opposition and criticism against the FF government.
“I also call on our development partners and the international community to take note of the despotic behavior of the Fijian government and strongly denounce such violations of human rights here,” Mr Chaudhry said.