Nikolas P, Rahmad Nasution, Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands – Tens of activists of the Tanjungpinang-Bintan Student Alliance staged a peaceful rally here on Tuesday to show their solidarity with the Papuan students in Malang, East Java, and urge the government to eliminate all forms of racism against the Papuans.
"We stage this rally to show our solidarity and care for our Papuan compatriots who are studying in Malang. What has happened there is expected not to recur," the rally coordinator, Yogi, said.
The protesting students who staged their rally at Gonggong Building in Tanjungpinang city, Riau Islands Province, also demanded that the government bring those responsible for the Malang incident to court.
"We call on the government to guarantee the rights and freedom of the Papuan students all over the country [and protect them] from stigmatization and acts of violence," Yogi said.
Malang Deputy Mayor, Sofyan Edi Jarwoko, had recently been caught in the spotlight after the native Papuans in the provinces of Papua and West Papua accused him of threatening to send the Papuan students in Malang back home.
In fact, Jarwoko did not make a statement containing a threat to the Papuan students in the aftermath of the rally that the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) staged in Malang city on August 15, 2019.
Instead, he just responded to local journalists on whether he would take the option of sending the Papuan students home as had been carried out in 2016.
Jarwoko was quoted by Kompas TV as saying on August 21 that he had never made a statement on sending the Papuan students home.
He just said that returning the Papuan students was an option, but the impact of their rally needed to be assessed further before coming up with the option.
In another development, two TNI officers had been questioned for their alleged racist slurs against students in Surabaya, East Java, that triggered anger in the Papua and West Papua Provinces.
Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto said the officers being investigated are Major NHI, commander of the Surabaya 0831/02 Regional Military Command, and a village supervisory non-commissioned officer (Babinsa).
Addressing a press conference after holding a dialogue with several representatives of the Papuan customary communities in Biak Numfor District, Papua Province, Tjahjanto said whatever mistakes the army personnel had committed on duty would consequently be sanctioned.Related news: Papuan students stage peaceful rally in Bali against Surabaya incident