| Asia Pacific Report | Pacnews
AUCKLAND - Deported head of the University of the South Pacific, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, says his expulsion from Fiji is “a classic case of beating the whistleblower up,” and has vowed to continue in the role from Nauru. Samoa has also offered him a home.
In an interview with the Australian ABC’s Pacific Beat, Professor Ahluwalia has detailed his sudden arrest and deportation.
He and his partner, Sandra Price, both Australian citizens, were detained in their home in Suva by police and immigration officials around 11pm on Wednesday night and put on a plane bound for Brisbane on Thursday morning.
“I said I need to know who you are before I open the door,” Professor Ahluwalia told Pacific Beat, “and [the officer at the door] said, ‘if you don’t open this door within three seconds, and we’ll break the door down’. So we let him in.
“I was trying to speak with the Australian High Commissioner and about four people manhandled me and grabbed my phone off me, and really sort of roughed me up.”
He said the officers later apologised.
Professor Ahluwalia said he remains the vice-chancellor of USP, and plans to fly to Nauru where he continue his administration from there.
In a statement, the Fiji government claimed Professor Ahluwalia and Ms Price were ordered to leave Fiji after continuous breaches of the Immigration Act.
“No foreigner is permitted to conduct themselves in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, security or good government of Fiji,” the statement said.
No details of the alleged breaches were provided.
Professor Ahluwalia believes he was deported because he raised concerns about widespread mismanagement at the university under his predecessor.
“I don’t believe either Sandy or I have done anything wrong.
“This is a classic case of beating the whistleblower up,” he said.