NEW DELHI, India, July 7, Reuter: India on Thursday condemned Fiji’s decision to give troops and police emergency powers, describing the new measures as harsh and draconian.

An External Affairs Ministry statement said an internal security decree announced last month by President Penalia Ganilau was politically motivated and “likely to be used against the people of Indian origin”.

Ganilau said the decree, providing wider powers of search and detention, was needed because Fiji’s security was threatened.

Security forces have seized large quantities of machine guns, rocket launchers, mortar bombs and grenades and detained several ethnic Indians since last April.

The seizures and arrests have raised tensions between the Indians and indigenous Fijians — the two main communities in the Pacific Island state.

“The decree should be rescinded, the political detainees released and civil liberty and democratic rights of all Fijians fully restored”, the Indian statement said.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 15, 1988