Biak, Papua – Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto and National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian held a dialog with several representatives of Papuan customary communities in Biak Numfor District, Papua Province, on Tuesday.
The dialogue, aimed at gaining a clear insight into the aspirations of local community leaders, took place five days after native Papuans in the provinces of Papua and West Papua staged a series of rallies to protest against the alleged act of racism against Papuan students in Surabaya.
Prior to the dialog held at the VIP room of Manuhua Air Force Base in Biak, Tjahjanto and Karnavian's entourage was greeted with traditional dance, but this meeting was strictly closed-door.
Chief of the Supiori Tribe Mananwir Stev Sarakan informed journalists before attending the dialog of his keenness to provide inputs to the military and police chiefs on the Surabaya and Malang incidents and on the security situation in Supiori Island.
Through this dialog, Sarakan admitted to providing information and security guarantee in Papua Province for securing the sustainability of development programs in the districts of Biak and Supiori.
Top military and police officers also partaking in the dialog comprised General Commander of the Indonesian Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) Maj. Gen. I Nyoman Cantiasa, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Rudolf A. Rodja, and Chief of XVII Cenderawasih Regional Military Command Maj. Gen. Yosua Pandit Sembiring.
On Aug 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, had rallied to vociferously agitate over alleged racist action against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java.
A local parliamentary building in Manokwari was set ablaze during the demonstration. The rioters also lit tires in several parts of the city and main streets.
However, National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian affirmed that normalcy had been restored in Manokwari. He also ordered the police chiefs of Papua and West Papua to adopt security measures and avoid the use of excessive force.
On Aug 22, a group of Papuan students in Denpasar, Bali Province, held a peaceful demonstration to express their angst over the racist abuse of their compatriots in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.
In Medan, North Sumatra Province, several Papuan students at the University of Sumatera Utara (USU) also expressed solidarity for their friends in Surabaya by staging a peaceful protest to echo the message of peace and justice.
In Lampung Province, the Association of Papuan Students (Ikmapal) urged President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to divert more focus on Papuans' welfare and social justice and bring to book those passing racist slurs against Papuan students in Surabaya. Related news: Police Chief confirms situation placated in West Papua