UNIVERSITY of the South Pacific vice-chancellor Prof Pal Ahluwalia says he is still the VC.
Speaking to this newspaper from Brisbane, Australia, he said he was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he and his wife, Sandra Price, were treated like criminals when they were forcefully removed from their home about midnight on Wednesday and deported on a 10.30am flight to Brisbane yesterday.
“It was a surreal experience because I did nothing wrong,” he said.
“I was on the phone trying to get through to the Australian embassy when the immigration officials broke down our door and barged in.
“They roughed me up a bit when they took the phone off me.”
Prof Ahluwalia said despite what had happened, he remained the USP VC and would travel to Nauru today and attend the USP council meeting from there.
“With God’s grace, I will continue to be the VC.
“I would like to thank every Fijian that has supported me, I have the chancellor’s support and also the support of the staff and students, they have all been wonderful.”
Staff and students said they were “heartbroken” and offered prayers when they got together at the campus yesterday.
The arrest and deportation have been widely condemned and talked about on social media, many calling the event shameful, childish, and un-Pasifika.
President of the university’s students association Joseph Sua said Government owed it to the people to provide a full explanation on the risks Prof Ahluwalia posed to Fiji, leading to his deportation.
A government statement stated the couple had breached Section 13 of the Immigration Act and had “conducted themselves in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, security, or good government of Fiji”.