Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – The Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) secretary-general Dewi Kartika was cynical toward President Joko Widodo's constant land certificate distributions. She compared it to the 642 agrarian conflicts that happened across Indonesian regions from 2015 – 2018 under the president's leadership.
"For the past five years, President Jokowi's government is only preoccupied with land certificate distributions without eyeing on the country's agrarian problems," said Dewi in her statement on Thursday, Oct. 24.
KPA recorded that there are 940 farmers and agrarian figures who were subject to criminalization with 546 of them being subject to physical abuse, 51 were shot, and 41 had perished.
She argued that the unfortunate cases continue to happen because of manipulative practices and the non-transparent way of granting land cultivation rights (HGU) to corporations. This especially follows the agrarian conflict that happened at Merbau Village in Jambi.
The conflict saw PT. Erasakti Wira Forestama or EWF claiming to have bought a 406-hectare land in the village even though villagers that work with 68 hectares of the land had never sold their land to EWF. They eventually came to handling the case with the help of Thawaf Aly, a member of the Jambi Farmers' unity.
However, Aly's struggle eventually reached a point where he was named as a suspect by police for allegedly violating Article 55, which bans people from illegally working on plantation land.