The Baduy tribe, which lives in isolation in the Lebak district of Banten, is reiterating its demand for the government to get its faith, Sunda Wiwitan, recognized by law.
Daenah, a Baduy figure who is also the head of Kanekes village, said that Sunda Wiwitan, a syncretic faith, has been listed on the identity cards of its members since 1972.
The identity card (KTP) has a column indicating the bearer’s religion. The government only recognizes six religions — Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism — as being official.
“But suddenly, from 2011 until now, Sunda Wiwitan is no longer mentioned [on the ID card],” Daenah said on Saturday night while speaking with Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah in Serang. “They said our religion is not mentioned in the laws.”
Daenah came to Serang for the traditional annual audience with the governor, joining about 1,388 Baduy tribesmen from three villages within the Baduy territory.
“Our people are worried,” Daenah added.
Carrying various earth-grown products as a traditional tribute to the authorities, the Baduy asked the government to help safeguard the conservation of the forest, water and nature in the Baduy and to help provide firm law enforcement.
“We ask that the government help protect us and our forests,” Jaro Saidi said.
Reports have surfaced of several cases of encroachment into Baduy territory by outsiders.
The tribesmen walked for two days to Serang from their territory in the Leuwi Damar subdistrict of Lebak.
The Baduys live in 60 hamlets within their territory and are divided between the Inner Baduy and the Outer Baduy.
The Inner Baduy adheres to ancient ways of life and avoids modern technology and education. The Outer Baduy does not practice complete isolation.