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Governor accused of image building after only meeting with pro-mining residents

CNN Indonesia - February 10, 2022

Jakarta – The Wadas Village Nature Concern Social Movement (Gempadewa) says that the visit by Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo to Wadas Village in Bener, Purworejo regency, on Wednesday February 9, was only to meet with people who support the construction of the andesite rock quarry to supply materials for the Bener Dam.

Gempadewa said that Pranowo did not meet any of the residents who were afraid and traumatized by the police siege on the village on Tuesday.

"Pak [Mr] Ganjar came to Wadas not to meet with any of the people who were traumatised, but to meet with people who support [the quarry] and people who are protected by the police. Meanwhile he did not meet with any of the residents who were afraid [of the police]. There was no discussion with residents who were beaten, assaulted, even thrown to the ground", the group wrote on the Gempadewa Instagram account (@wadas_melawan) on Thursday February 10.

Yogyakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Campaign and Networking Division Head Dhanil Al Ghifary has confirmed the story saying that Pranowo's visit to the Wadas Village was just image building on the part of the politician from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle Party PDI-P).

"Pak Ganjar was just image building, yesterday he arrived and then the residents were instructed to be harmonious, just like that, don't be afraid (he said), how can they not be afraid when they're under siege like this", said Ghifary when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Thursday.

According to reports from residents, said Ghifary, Pranowo did not meet with any of those who oppose the land measuring. He also said that Pranowo only visited the village briefly.

"According to residents, yeah, there were no residents who oppose [the measuring] who met [Pranowo]. The ones who he met with were only those residents who accept it. And even that was only for a moment", he said.

One of the residents also confirmed that Pranowo's visit yesterday was limited to meeting with residents who support the land procurement project. Pranowo did not ask any questions at all about the residents' situation as a consequence of the excessive actions of the police.

"[They] didn't talk about the arrests or about residents who were assaulted, beaten, trampled on, nothing like that, not at all", said the resident who did not want their name mentioned during a virtual press conference on Thursday.

"[They] did not convey what occurred at Wadas Village at all, namely at the Nurul Huda mosque. [They] did not convey this to Pak Ganjar at all. It wasn't touched on at all", they continued.

Pranowo pledges dialogue

On his Instagram account meanwhile, Pranowo said that he visited Wadas Village in accordance with his pledge on Wednesday. While there, he claimed to have met with residents who agree with the land procurement project.

"In accordance with [my] pledge, today I went to Wadas. I managed to meet with residents who agree with the land procurement. They had only just taken part in measuring their land along with BPN [National Land Agency] officials. Once again I convey my apologies because of what happened yesterday", said Pranowo in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

Based on a video which was uploaded, the residents who met with Pranowo conveyed their thanks for the land measuring carried out at Wadas Village. They also reported that most of the areas had finished being measured.

"Earlier [we] thanked the Bapak [Mr Pranowo] because [the measuring] has been carried out at Wadas Village. Along with government officials who assisted the community here. It was made smooth and easy. Thank you very much", said one of the residents in the video.

Based on the meeting, Pranowo conceded that there were indeed some residents who did not agree with the andesite rock mining in Wadas. He also said that he will invite all the residents, both those who agree as well as those who do not, to sit down and discuss the matter together.

"Certainly there are still residents who don't agree with the removal [of andesite rock] for the Bener Dam [construction]. Later we'll invite them to talk about it all together, together with Komnas HAM [the National Human Rights Commission] also", he said.

Pranowo has yet to respond to questions over whether or not he only met with pro-development residents during his visit to Wades Village.

Wadas became the focus of national attention after hundreds of fully armed police were deployed to the village on Tuesday February 8 to escort BPN officials measuring the land for an andesite rock quarry.

The police however did not just escort the BPN team. They also arrested residents who opposed the planned development who were deemed to be provocateurs. A total of 67 residents were arrested, although scores were released from custody yesterday. (blq/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "LBH Jogja: Pak Ganjar Itu Datang ke Wadas Cuma Pencitraan".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20220210160439-20-757602/lbh-jogja-pak-ganjar-itu-datang-ke-wadas-cuma-pencitraa