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Fiji Time: 9:35 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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Students in politics

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, May 30, 2014

SCHOLARSHIPS must be assessed on qualifications, need and academic performance solely and not on one's political affiliation, says the People's Democratic Party.

Party leader Felix Anthony said students should be free to support any candidate they wished and to participate in the political process without restriction as long as any activity that was conducted, was conducted within the confines of the law.

"As reported in The Fiji Times of Wednesday May 28, a student's scholarship has been terminated by the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board for simply supporting or being an activist with the independent candidate Roshika Deo," he said.

"This government has denied a large section of our community from actively participating in the political process including Unions, NGOs and public servants.

"This is plain denial of fundamental rights and must be condemned. This is clearly a case of victimisation."

Mr Anthony said the decision by the board would instill fear in young people and discourage participation in the lead up to the polls.

"The students and the people of Fiji deserve to know why the scholarships given are conditional on students remaining politically neutral or support only one party.

"On one hand we have this government saying that people over 18 years are free to vote yet on the other hand make it a condition to remain politically neutral if they have been given a government scholarship."