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The education sector will not tolerate racial vilification: Akbar

May 16, 2019 7:38 am

The Education Ministry will not take any racial vilification lightly within the sector.

Speaking to FBC News, Minister Rosy Akbar says the recent incident where UniFiji Director for iTaukei Studies Dr. Litiana Kuridrani called Law Students Association President Filipe Bainivalu an ‘Indian dog’ in a heated argument over email exchanges was uncalled for.

Akbar adds the action of this sort is simply unacceptable.

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“We have instructed the UniFiji management to look into this and establish a case and of course they have their own disciplinary council that will be dealing with this. As the Education Minister, I will not expect such comments to be leveled against any student whether it is in our primary, secondary or tertiary schools around the country.”

Bainivalu along with various student executives are calling on the University’s management to suspend Dr. Kuridrani.

During a meeting with the vice-chancellor on this matter, Bainivalu proposed that Dr. Kuridrani be suspended pending investigation as her influence could jeopardize the outcome of the case.

An outcome on this matter will be given to the Association tomorrow.

However, Bainivalu has lodged a formal complaint with the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

“I’ve made my move and it is better to lodge a formal complaint to the Commission as this is a discrimination issue against a human being. The constitution has always stated that this country is founded on values of human dignity, individual respect, responsibility, and integrity, therefore, Dr. Kuridrani has breached the supreme law of the land and she has to be taken to task.”

Commission Director, Ashwin Raj has confirmed receiving the complaint and an investigation will be launched.

Dr. Kuridrani has refused to comment to FBC News.

Meanwhile, USP Professor Language/Linguistics Paul Geraghty has labeled the comment as non-racist, stating it’s a generalized iTaukei idiom that has become part of the language.

The heated exchanges were a result of a petition by the students of the iTaukei studies requesting for a full-time lecturer.

 

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