Tara Marchelin, Jakarta – The National Police are planning to roll out its Idul Fitri security operation, known as "Operasi Ketupat," earlier this year after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo finally decided to issue an official ban on mudik, the annual exodus of millions of Indonesian Muslims from urban centers to small towns and villages, which will happen at the end of the Ramadan fasting month in late May.
The security operation usually starts seven days before Idul Fitri, but this year it will start from the very first day of Ramadan.
"Operasi Ketupat will begin on the first day of Ramadan and last until seven days after Idul Fitri. We will receive assistance from the Indonesian Military throughout," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Argo Yuwono told the press in a teleconference on Tuesday.
Argo said the police will establish 2,582 checkpoints along popular mudik routes, mostly on the densely populated Java Island, during the operation.
The checkpoints will be manned by police officers, soldiers and officials from the Transportation Ministry.
There will also be medical tents manned by doctors and nurses. Argo said Operasi Ketupat will follow the full Covid-19 protocols.
The National Police seem to have backed down on their earlier threat to close down toll roads in and out of Jakarta to prevent people from violating the mudik ban.
Argo said officers have been ordered to take a "persuasive and humanist" approach during Operasi Ketupat. "Even though we already have the mudik ban, we will not close down the toll roads. All roads will operate as normal," he said.
The National Police will also deploy their food task force to monitor staple food prices during Ramadan and prevent hoarding.
To stop crimes during Ramadan – normally already a time of higher crime rate as people need extra money to go on their mudik trips – Argo said a task force led by the General Crime Investigation Directorate has been activated at every Regional Police headquarters.
Criminals are set to be handed heavier punishment if they break the law during the coronavirus pandemic since the situation has already been declared by the government as a national disaster.
"Anyone who commits a crime during the pandemic will be severely punished according to Article 363 of the Criminal Code," Argo said.