Resurgence in intimidation of families of 1965 purge victims
Bambang Muryanto and Bagus BT Saragih
The Jakarta Post
A rowdy rally on Monday denouncing communism along with death threats ' aimed at the heirs of those linked to the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) ' followed the dispersal in Yogyakarta on Sunday of a gathering of relatives of the victims of the 1965 anti-communist purge.
'[The families of the victims] are also communists. It is legal for us to kill them, just like when we killed members of the PKI in the past,' shouted Burhanuddin ZR, founder of the Yogyakarta chapter of the Indonesian Anti-Communist Front (FAKI).
Dozens of FAKI members, as well as members of the Youth Forum of the Family of Indonesian Veterans and Police and Military Retirees (GM-FKPPI), rallied at the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Yogyakarta).
The groups demanded that the institute turn down requests from the 1965 victims for legal advocacy and assistance.
Earlier on Monday, the relatives of the purge victims had gone to the LBH Yogyakarta to report the incident on Sunday when their meeting at the Santi Dharma Retreat in Sidoagung village in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, was disrupted by the anti-communist vigilantes.
The FAKI members accused the victims' families of trying to resurrect the PKI and bring back communism. They attacked the participants and left at least three people injured.
Burhanuddin said they would attack the LBH Yogyakarta should the latter agree to provide assistance to the families. 'If they are given assistance you are forcing our hand,' Burhanuddin, who claimed to be one of the executors of the 1965 purge, said loudly while banging on his chest.
'The institute must go over our dead bodies before granting the 'communists' requests,' Risang Haryo Seto, a GM-FKPPI member said.
Some of the institute's property was damaged by the violent demonstrators.
LBH Yogyakarta director Samsudin Nurseha said his organization was committed to providing advocacy particularly to poor and marginalized citizens. 'We must treat all complaints without discrimination,' he said.
Samsudin accompanied Irina Dayasih, a member of the organizing committee of the dispersed gathering, to file a police report, later on Monday.
National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Roichatul Aswidah said the vigilante's acts were a result of the state's failure to ensure the basic human and constitutional rights of the victims of the 1965 purge.
'The group was so confident in its right to confront the victims' families because elements of the state ' including the government ' are reluctant to change and reconstruct the way society treats the ex-PKI members and their families,' she told The Jakarta Post. 'This has resulted in sustained discrimination,' she added.
Roichatul led the Komnas HAM team tasked with probing past human rights abuses including the 1965 purge.
After comprehensively investigating it for nearly four years, the commission officially announced in July last year that the 'state-sponsored' purge met all the criteria of a gross violation of human rights, comprising murder; extermination; slavery; forced disappearances; limits on physical freedom; torture; rape; persecution; and forced prostitution.
Komnas HAM stated that the Attorney General's Office had agreed to set up a joint investigative team to review and follow up Komnas HAM's findings.
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