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'Mixing religion, politics'

Vishaal Kumar
Thursday, February 01, 2018

THE National Federation Party (NFP) has hit out at Government claiming they have been mixing religion with politics and has described it as a despicable and shameful act.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad made the statement after comments made by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during a talanoa session on the desecration of temples in Nakasi on Tuesday night where he claimed opposition politicians, political parties and their supporters were keeping quiet when people spoke in divisive ways.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also said political parties should be openly condemning such behaviour.

He said they instead liked to divide people because they saw their political fortunes in a divided Fiji.

In responding to these claims, Prof Prasad said the speech by the A-G was a classic case of how Government was using places of worship to preach politics and shamelessly accuse opposition political parties.

"It is a blatant lie that opposition parties have not condemned desecration of temples. We have done so through the media right at the outset, and called for a full-scale police investigation and harsher penalties for those found guilty of such acts," Prof Prasad said.

"We even visited three temples that were desecrated."

Prof Prasad said both the Prime Minister and the A-G should learn from the Police Commissioner who outlined what the force was doing in terms of investigating offences of desecration and increasing police visibility.

Fiji Labour Party (FLP) leader Mahendra Chaudhry claimed the A-G and the PM had themselves not contributed much to uniting the people.

"All they have so far done in parliament and in their political campaigns is to sling mud at their rivals — that seems to be their style, hardly an effort at achieving unity," Mr Chaudhry claimed.

"The A-G, I believe, is widely criticised for pursuing a divisive policy of cultural nepotism. The PM has defended him on this when questioned by people in the course of his so-called public consultations.

"However, in my view, his explanations fall far short of allaying the concerns of the people on this highly divisive issue." He claimed all this talk by the A-G of uniting the people was just a hollow campaign rhetoric, unmatched by action.

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