University of the South Pacific Vice-Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia has been deported from Fiji to Australia.
Professor Ahluwalia and his wife, Sandra Price, were detained by Fiji Police and Immigration officials and declared Prohibited Immigrants under the Immigration Act with immediate effect.
A letter signed by Fiji’s Acting Director of Immigration Amelia Komaisavai notes that the Fijian government deemed Professor Ahluwalia to be “a person who is or has been conducting 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”.
Section 13, (2) (g) of the Immigration Act states, a person who prior to or after entry into the Fiji Islands, as a result of information received from any country through official or diplomatic channels, or from any other source the Minister considers reliable, is deemed by the Minister to be a person who is or has been conducting 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.
Last year, Fiji government had announced it was suspending its grants of more than $US10 million to the university.
The current Chancellor is the President of the Republic of Nauru, His Excellency Lionel Rouwen Aingimea is trying to call in an emergency meeting.
This move of the Fiji Government has stirred condemnation on social media from academics and local community.
Fiji Times reports that the National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said at a time when Fiji should be supporting victims of cyclones Yasa and Ana, Government was “instead focused its own petty jealousies”.
Professor Ahluwalia says he remains the VC of USP despite being deported, and he hopes the USP Council, which has to meet tomorrow, will make further decisions.