Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Farouk Arnaz
The National Commission for Human Rights said on Monday that it would establish a special team to investigate allegations of attacks carried out by hard-line Islamic groups, as lawmaker file charges against militants who broke up their meeting in Banyuwangi, East Java.
Ridha Saleh, deputy chairman of the commission also known as Komnas HAM, said the team would be officially unveiled at the group’s plenary meeting next Monday, but could start work sooner because all commissioners had agreed on its importance. “We’re currently selecting the people for the team. We hope to get it up and running as soon as possible.”
He said Komnas HAM would summon National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri and the leadership of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) for questioning.
The police chief will be queried over allegations that the force was allowing radical groups to carry out attacks unfettered, as well as failing to investigate them properly, Ridha said.
“It’s obvious that the police are reluctant to process such cases, and we want to know why,” he said. “We also want to know why the police allow civilian groups to carry out raids, when clearly this the responsibility of the police.”
The FPI, meanwhile, will be questioned over a litany of attacks and raids against lawful gatherings, including an incident on April 30 in which it disrupted a human-rights training session for transvestites organized by Komnas HAM in Depok.
“What the FPI and similar groups do threatens our democracy,” Ridha said. “It goes against our Constitution and the human rights law.”
In a separate development, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmakers pressed charges against an group linked to the FPI and the police after a meeting with constituents in Banyuwangi was broken up by the hard-liners.
“We want justice,” Ribka Tjiptaning Proletariati, chairwoman of the House of Representatives Commission IX overseeing health issues, said before filing the complaint. “We abided by all the regulations to hold the meeting, including notifying the local police about it.”
Ribka and fellow commission members Rieke Dyah Ayu Pitaloka and Nursuhud said they had been discussing health care issues with constituents at a restaurant in Pakis village when 10 to 15 members of the Islamic Ummah Forum burst in and demanded the gathering be dissolved.
The group, alleged to have been incited by the FPI, claimed the meeting was a disguised reunion of former Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members.
The secretary general of the FPI has denied his group was behind the incident.
Ribka, who wrote the book “Aku Bangga Jadi Anak PKI” (“I Am Proud to Be a PKI Child”) in 2002, said the meeting had nothing to do with the banned party.
Her lawyer, Prayuna, said: “They came as lawmakers, as state officials. The police should have protected them rather than acquiesce to the demands to break up the meeting.”
Ribka also met with National Police head Bambang, who promised to take firm action in the matter.
“He promised to follow up on our report,” she said, adding that he had called for an internal investigation of the police’s involvement before processing the case.
“Bambang said that would take no more than two weeks.”
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang confirmed his office was conducting an internal investigation into the matter.
“We hope all parties will uphold the law,” he said.