Fiji police chief attacks Indian police officers

CHRISTIAN MISSION: Fijian Police Commissioner, Commodore Esala Teleni has told Fijian-Indian police officers to get out of the force if they can't be loyal to him.
CHRISTIAN MISSION: Fijian Police Commissioner, Commodore Esala Teleni has told Fijian-Indian police officers to get out of the force if they can't be loyal to him.

One of Fiji's top coup plotters, Police Commissioner Esala Teleni, has launched an attack on Indians in his force, calling them backstabbers and liars.

And he says any of them who oppose his Christian mission will be booted out of the force.

"No one is going to deter me and my Jesus," he told police in Suva.

The outburst, from a close ally of military supremo Voreqe Bainimarama, is certain to cause alarm as it goes to the heart of Fiji's divisive racial politics.

Bainimarama staged his December 2006 coup claiming he wanted to end racism in the country of 900,000, of whom around 35 per cent are ethnic Indian.

He also kicked out an Australian who headed the police and installed Teleni, then head of the Navy Division of the Fiji Military Forces, as commissioner.

Fiji TV said Teleni called a meeting of senior Indian police officers, where he told them to get out of the force if they can't be loyal to him.

Cameras were not allowed into the meeting but a microphone picked up what he said.

"I don't know what's wrong with you people," he told the Indians.

Teleni recently launched a high profile Christian police crusade and at the meeting he says he never forced the Indian police to join it, only he encouraged them.

Most Fiji Indians are either Hindu or Muslim.

Teleni said he will remove Indians.

"I have a list of people; I'm going to start terminating their services. I am not hesitant to do that."

Fiji TV said Teleni sounded emotional.

"No one is going to deter me and my Jesus. I never talk about your religions. I never discuss your religions because I respect it. But at the same time you just respect my religion. You do not go to the press."

Fiji TV said Teleni then issued what sounded like a warning: "You've never seen my...my other side."

British colonialists imported Indian contract labour to Fiji to work on Australian sugar plantations in the late 19th and early 20th century.

But around the 1960s their population was roughly equal to that of the indigenous, sparking political battles over the control of Fiji.

When an Indian dominated government won power in 1987 Sitiveni Rabuka staged the first of his two coups to assert indigenous power. In 1999 an Indian became prime minister, sparking the 2000 George Speight coup.

Bainimarama claimed the elected government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was too nationalistic so he overthrew it.

In excess of 100,000 Indians have since emigrated Fiji for Australia and New Zealand.

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