Gafatar members demand compensation for assets
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar)former members have demanded that the government compensate them for property that locals in Kalimantan forced them to abandon.
They are currently listing all the assets they want the government to compensate them for because they invested all of their wealth in the province, said Andi Pratama, the former leader of the Gafatar in Bengkulu, West Sumatra.
"We even built a house worth Rp 158 million [US$11,474], and there was a pickup to transport vegetables,' Andi said.
"To be honest, we are disappointed. We are not criminals and we did not bother the local community, yet we are being treated like this," Edward added.
Andi said his 4-hectare farm had been ready to harvest, but he had been forced to abandon it and return to his former hometown in Bengkulu, tempo.co reported.
Separately, Edward, who was forced to leave Samboja subdistrict in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, said he had left behind all of his assets, including a 2-hectare plot of land and houses worth Rp 800 million.
'We spent Rp 1.3 billion on our property and the work we did, but we left it all there," Edward said as quoted by kompas.com in Balikpapan.
Edward claimed that for almost seven months since the end of August 2015, he and other Gafatar members had grown crops on 9 hectares of farmland, some of which was to be harvested and sold in March, Edward said.
Edward and a number of other evacuees said they accepted their relocation to Balikpapan and that they had willingly given up their lives in Samboja was proof that they obeyed the government and did not spread deviant religious teachings or misguided ideology.
'As to the assets we left behind, I hope there will be compensation. Please pay attention to our fate," Edward said.
Following the burning of houses belonging to Gafatar members in Mempawah regency, West Kalimantan, the government repatriated thousands of them to their former hometowns, such as Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Banyuwangi in East Java, Jakarta and Semarang in Central Java.
Gafatar members had moved to West Kalimantan to farm and build settlements to achieve food security and economic independence.
Andi denied that the group had spread deviant religious teachings or misleading ideology that sparked misperceptions among the local people, saying that all they did was farm.
"We always shared our crop yields with the animals. What have we done wrong?" Andi said, adding that the government should restore their image. (afr/bbn)
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