From Traces of Intolerance

The traces of intolerance in Bandung and West Java stretch far. Not only does it fail to protect its citizens, the state often becomes an actor. – October 24, 2015. Around 800 Shiites from the West Java region who attended the Ashura event at the Sidolig Stadium, Jalan Ahmad Yani, Bandung City, disbanded after masses from various organizations rallied in front of the stadium demanding it be disbanded. For security reasons, the police escorted the process of disbanding and evacuating the Shiites from the Sidolig Stadium to their respective vehicles. Dozens of other police personnel, equipped with guns and tear gas, guarded the closed main road from the Jalan Riau intersection to the North Warehouse intersection.

July 2015. Hundreds of residents demonstrated at Gedung Sate, Bandung, condemning the burning of a mosque that occurred in Tolikara Regency, Papua, on July 17 2015. The scent of conflict spread to various parts of the country after a number of residents were injured and one person was reported dead.

6 December 2016. Dozens of members of a religious organization staged a demonstration demanding the cancellation of the Spiritual Awakening Service at Sasana Budaya Ganesha. Tamansari, Bandung City. Again, due to security considerations, the Christmas service was finally disbanded.

March 23, 2016. A number of people on behalf of religious organizations raided the Institut Francaise d’Indonesie (IFI) on Jalan Purnawarman, Bandung City. They forced the organizers to cancel the monologue stage “Tan Malaka: I am a Deer with Red Hair”. They accused Tan Malaka, the father of the nation, of being associated with communism.

September 2, 2019. Papuan students in Bandung closed the intersection of Jalan Merdeka and Jalan Aceh in a demonstration related to insults with racism by the authorities at Papuans. Similar actions also took place in a number of cities in Papua, accompanied by riots and burning of buildings. This action was sparked by the attack on the Papuan student dormitory in Kamasan, Surabaya, East Java by police with assault rifles and tear gas on the Republic of Indonesia’s Independence Day.

Sue for Impunity

Various traces of intolerance based on ethnicity, religion, and race continue to color the country. Some remain unresolved. Including incidents of threats and intimidation by security forces on journalists when covering violence and conflict.

It seems that impunity has become commonplace when a person or minority group is dealing (or in conflict) with the apparatus, aka the State. Cases evaporate somewhere, while the perpetrators go untouched. The threats followed by the traumatic incident of the riot led to a long-winded investigation that eventually just evaporated.

Imparsial noted that 25 cases of intolerance recorded by the media occurred in Indonesia throughout 2022. Several of them were orchestrated by the state apparatus, from the sub-district heads, regents, Forkopimda, to the police. 

The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace released a data report on freedom of religion and belief in Indonesia for 2022. As many as 50 houses of worship (churches, mosques, monasteries, prayer rooms, temples and houses of worship of adherents) were disturbed. Starting from the destruction to the rejection of the establishment.

Setara Institute also reported that there were 175 incidents of violations of religious freedom with 333 actions. Of these 333 actions, 168 of them were carried out by the State (local government, Satpol PP, police, state educational institutions, and Forkopimda).

The state should not be an agent of intolerance. But in the first months of 2023, we again have to witness traces of intolerance. On January 26, 2023, an action was taken to ban the Ahmadiyya congregation in Sintang District, West Kalimantan. In Sukabumi, West Java, the local government sealed the construction of the Parakansalak Jemaah Ahmadiyya Islamic boarding school on the grounds that they did not yet have a permit.

Photos and text: Noble prima


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