The 2013 constitution established the true identity of all Fijians by allowing everyone this title regardless of race, religion, and ethnicity.
Minister for Education, Premila Kumar says this is restorative justice at work in providing the rightful place for the Girmitiya legacy and their descendants on the footing of equity and equality.
Kumar says history repeated itself during the 1987 and 2000 coups, which forced the Girmit descendants to migrate for safety and security reasons.
Premila Kumar [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]
The Minister for Education says the purpose of mentioning these facts is to ensure that this part of history is not forgotten.
“Everyone knows what followed. It devastated our economy. It fueled racial and religious hatred, and Indo-Fijians were discriminated against in all walks of life”.
The People’s Alliance Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, earlier denied claims that neither his 1987 coup nor the 2000 coup forced the Girmit descendants to leave the country.
The Minister for Education last week highlighted that Fijians failed to remember the socio-economic development and contributions made by the Girmitiyas during and after the indenture period.
However, Sitiveni Rabuka claimed that Indo-Fijians were very safe during his time as the leader of the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei government.
“Rabuka denied that his 1987 coup forced the girmit descendants to leave the country. He shamelessly said that his coup facilitated the departure to greener pastures. None left Fiji for India, and some have returned to Fiji.”
Government Whip Alvick Maharaj claims Rabuka destroyed the country back in 1987.
“All those who left Fiji left unwillingly. They were forced out because of violence, discrimination, and blatant racism. What he did cannot be forgotten. No explanation from him is enough to justify his actions.”
Alvick Maharaj [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]
Maharaj says unity has been achieved through the leadership of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his vision for a united Fiji, educating all children and a peaceful nation.
The arrival of the Girmitiyas 143 years ago with their contribution to nation building is being celebrated throughout the country this week.