Jamal A. Nashr, Jakarta – Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo in a written statement on Wednesday openly apologized to the public after police detained dozens of villagers in Wadas, Purworejo, as the area is being subjected to a national strategic project.
The land area in the Wadas village is currently subjected to a mining site, where its andesite stone will be used for the construction of a large dam called Bendungan Bener. The governor said he takes full responsibility and will request for police to release the arrested people.
"I offer my apology to the general public, especially the people of Purworejo and villagers of Wadas," he wrote on February 9. "We came to an agreement, the people who were detained will be released and sent home."
Ganjar claimed he had offered an opportunity for dialogue throughout the planning of the mining site construction, which also involved the national commission for human rights (Komnas HAM) to mediate villagers who support and are against the national strategic project.
However, he said the residents who oppose the mining site construction were not present in the mediation process.
"We asked for those who support and oppose the project to be present, but during the dialogue, the opposers were not present," said the governor.
The Central Java Police Chief insp. General Ahmad Lutfhi acknowledged the arrests against 64 residents of Wadas village who are now detained at the Purworejo Police headquarter. He defended the arrests were to avoid a clash between the residents.
"We will release them today to prevent increasing the tension between those who support and oppose [the mining site construction]," he said.