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No violence at anti-communist protest, say Yogyakarta police

Jakarta Post - October 30, 2013

Yuliasri Perdani and Bagus BT Saragih, Jakarta The Yogyakarta Police on Tuesday denied that relatives of the victims of the 1965 anti-communist purge had been subjected to violence at the hands of vigilante groups.

Yogyakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Haka Astana said there had been no intimidation nor assault against the 40 people, mostly relatives of the 1965 purge who had gathered for an event in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Sunday.

Haka, however, acknowledged that local youths had dispersed the meeting because the group had failed to get an official permit.

"[The organizer] invited more than 40 participants from many cities, such as Cilacap and Pati [Central Java]. Considering the scale of the event, the organizer should have informed local officials in the village about the event. That's all," he said.

Haka denied that the decision to disperse the gathering came from the Indonesian Anti-Communist Front (FAKI), regardless of claims by eye witnesses who saw protesters in uniforms emblazoned with the organization's logo.

Earlier on Monday, the Yogyakarta chapter of FAKI confirmed it had disrupted the gathering.

On Tuesday, FAKI, joined by the Family of Indonesian Veterans and Police and Military Retirees (GM-FKPPI), staged a violent protest at the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Yogyakarta) headquarters, demanding the outfit to turn down requests from the 1965 victims for a legal assistance.

FAKI members accused the victims' families of attempting to resurrect the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and of being communists.

"[The families of the victims] are also communists. It is legal for us to kill them, just like when we killed members of the PKI in the past," shouted Burhanuddin ZR, FAKI Yogyakarta founder.

Burhanuddin, who also boasted of being one of the 1965 executors, added that they would launch an attack on the LBH Yogyakarta headquarters if it did not heed the call.

Despite the threat, LBH Yogyakarta director Samsudin Nurseha on Tuesday accompanied Irina Dayasih, a member of the gathering's organizing committee, to file a police report.

Irina is the daughter of the late Njoto, former deputy chairman of the PKI central committee. In the police report, victims of the attack called on the police to investigate the violence that left at least three people injured.

In Bandung, West Java, Ribka Tjiptaning, politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), denounced the violence committed by the anti-communist thugs.

"We keep seeing incidents like this because there has been no effort to correct the history books about what really happened with the PKI and the purge. The mind set that relatives of PKI members deserve discrimination remains. Reconciliation will never succeed if our history is not revised," she said.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said vigilantism, such as this, resulted from the state's failure to ensure that the basic human and constitutional rights of the families and victims of the 1965 anti-communist purge were met.

"At least two basic constitutional rights were violated in the Sleman incident. First, the right to gather and form a union and second, discrimination against the families of the 1965 victims," Komnas HAM commissioner Roichatul Aswidah said.

[Arya Dipa contributed to the story from Bandung, West Java.]

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