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Who was behind the attack on the on the YLBHI offices

Tirto.id - September 19, 2017

Reja Hidayat – On the evening of Friday September 15 following evening prayers, retired Major General Kivlan Zen arrived at the headquarters of the Indonesian Islamic Students Movement (GPII) on Jl. Menteng Raya No. 8, Central Jakarta.

The former Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad, Green Berets) commander was fulfilling an invitation from the Anti-Communist Student and Youth Alliance (Aliansi Mahasiswa dan Pemuda Anti Komunis) organising committee. That evening a meeting was to be held to discuss closing down a seminar that was allegedly a communist consolidation at the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices in Central Jakarta.

Tirto has published photos of the meeting. Kivlan can be seen wearing a batik shirt with a flower pattern. He is sitting next to the leaders of several different social organisations and student alliance groups. Sitting on Kivlan's right is GPII religious outreach division head Nanang Qosim. On the left is Anti-Communist Student and Youth Alliance coordinator Rahman Himran. Behind them is a banner can be seen reading, Don't let communism revive in Indonesia.

"This is me, this is bang [brother] Kivlan, this is Rahmat", Nanang told Tirto showing a photograph of himself at the Friday night meeting. "The Friday evening (meeting) at 8am has been published hasn't it", said Nanang.

Nanang explained that on that Friday evening, a day before the discussion on uncovering the history of 1965/1966 was to take place at the YLBHI building, organisational leaders including Kivlan discussed plans to close it down. There were many different social and student organisations present including, among others, the Indonesian Islamic Students (Pelajar Islam Indonesia, PII), the Ka'bah Youth Movement (Gerakan Pemuda Ka'bah, GPK), the Crescent Star Youth (Pemuda Bulan Bintang, PBB) and the Red-and-White Movement (Gerakan Merah Putih, GMP).

The meeting, according to Nanang, lasted for one-and-a-half hours and discussed the issue of the YLBHI seminar. Those attending the meeting claimed that it could potentially reopen historical wounds. Furthermore they alleged that the seminar was directed towards having Provisional People's Consultative Assembly Decree Number 25/1966 on the dissolution of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) repealed.

"We concluded that the TOR [seminar's terms of reference, agenda] was to paint the New Order [regime of former president Suharto] and the TNI [Indonesian military] in a bad light", said Nanang.

Also because of the subject of the seminar, Nanang alleges the YLBHI was facilitating the Forum 65. Moreover he claimed Institute for the Study of the 1965-1966 Massacres (YPKP '65) chairperson Bedjo Untung, who would be speaking at the seminar, was the instigator of the seminar.

"It was opening up an old festering wound, [they] wanted state reconciliation and compensation from the state", said Nanang explaining what was discussed during the meeting with Kivlan.

It was because of these conclusions that Nanang along with 39 other people proposed that the seminar should be opposed. And as if he wanted to assume police powers, he then mentioned that the seminar did not have a police permit.

"We also checked. The seminar that was to be held by the YLBHI didn't have a permit from police. This was important because holding activities that involve people from the regions, involving social elements that don't live in Jakarta, must provide notification of the event agenda [to police]", said Nanang.

Based on this, on Saturday they went to the YLBHI offices to hold a demonstration.

But even before they arrived at the YLBHI building on Saturday September 16, since 6am the police had setup a blockade on the road leading to the YLBHI front gate. As a result both the organising committee and participants intending to take part in the seminar were unable to enter.

Later, because of the demonstrations, the seminar participants who were trapped outside, many of whom were elderly, were moved into the YLBHI building by police.

The situation however became increasingly heated. At 1pm the mob holding the demonstration then tried to force their way through the police line. However they were unable to break through the blockade and eventually disbanded at 3pm.

An hour later police entered the YLBHI building seeking confirmation that the seminar would indeed be cancelled. Police even tried to seize a laptop as material evidence although this was thwarted by the organising committee because there were no grounds for the seizure.

In the end the seminar was indeed canceled. As an alternative the organising committee held an action at the YLBHI on Sunday evening criticising the actions of the government and police. The action, titled, "Asik Asik Asik: Indonesian Democratic Emergency", was an arts, music and literature performance.

After the event ended however, at 10pm on the night of Sunday September 17 a mob of protesters again besieged the YLBHI offices. The number of protesters continued to grow by the minute and came from various different quarters.

One of the groups that took part in the attack on the YLBHI building was the Islamic Reform Movement (GARiS). One of the leading figures from the organisation could be seen in front of the YLBHI entrance.

Kivlan has confirmed that GARIS was one of the groups that attended the meeting at the GPII headquarters. "Lots of people came, I don't feel comfortable naming them or saying what they did", said Kivlan when contacted by phone on Monday September 18.

There were however two groups that did not attend the meeting at the GPII headquarters but were later seen during that attack on the YLBHI offices. They were the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI) and the Communication Forum for Children of Retired Police and Military Officers (Forum Komunikasi Putra-Puteri TNI/Polri, FKPPI). The two groups have confirmed that their members took part in the attack on the YLBHI offices on Sunday evening.

Related Tirto articles:

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Rapat sebelum mennyerbu gedung YLBHI.]

Source: https://tirto.id/rapat-sebelum-menyerbu-gedung-ylbhi-cwSG.

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