Tatang Guritno, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) is asking Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD to apologise for his statements earlier this month on the conflict at Wadas Village in the Bener sub-district of Purworejo regency, Central Java.
This is because on Wednesday February 9 Mahfud stated that there was no violence committed by police against the residents of Wadas Village.
Meanwhile the results of an investigation by the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) released on Thursday February 24 found that the Central Java regional police committed violence and used excessive force against residents.
"Mahfud MD must apologies for his statements and take concrete steps to deal with the Wadas case", Kontras Deputy Coordinator Rivanlee Anandar told Kompas.com on Friday February 25.
Anandar said that Mahfud must take a firm position by ensuring that sanctions are handed down against police officers who committed violence.
"Mahfud must guarantee that there are no police who approach residents, and guarantee that there is action taken against members and senior officers who committed and allowed the violations to occur", he explained.
Finally, Anandar urged Mahfud to stop using a security approach to resolve the land conflict at Wadas Village.
"[He] needs to guarantee that similar incidents do not occur at Wades in coming days and refer to the findings of the Komnas HAM [investigation]", he explained.
As has been reported, Mahfud made a number of statements on the incident at Wadas Village which are different from Komnas HAM's findings.
Mahfud said that the situation in Wadas was secure and invited anyone who does not believe him to check personally.
He also claimed that the police did not commit violence and only secured people to prevent friction between two groups in the community who supported and opposed the andesite rock quarry in the village to provide material for the construction of the Bener Dam.
The Komnas HAM however found that violence was committed by police, most of which was committed by officers in civilian clothing or preman.
The Komnas HAM even concluded that excessive force was used by the Central Java regional police. This conclusion was reached based on the mobilisation of personnel in huge numbers.
Meanwhile the conflict at Wadas occurred because the community rejected their village being used as a location for the quarry. The residents objected on the grounds that the quarry would damage the environment by destroying a number of water wells used for their daily activities.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Komnas HAM Temukan Kekerasan di Wadas, Kontras: Mahfud MD Harus Meminta Maaf".]