Christian school rumor leads to closure of vocational academy in Batam
The Jakarta Post
Dozens of residents of a housing complex in Batam, Riau Islands, and members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) attacked on Friday a vocational school building, forcing the school’s closure.
Suryadi, a community unit (RW) head in the Merlion complex in Batu Aji district, said the residents claimed the vocational school, recently opened by the Suluh Mulia Pioner Foundation, was built on an area designated for social and public facilities.
“We want [the local administration] to build a state elementary school here, not the [vocational] school,” he said.
The residents also reportedly complained that it was a Christian school.
Clashes occurred when a mob attempted to enter the school after it was discovered that Batam city administration had not sealed the school following earlier protests. They attempted to enter the building while another group of people inside the school, some believed to be carrying weapons, prepared to meet them. The residents smashed the school’s signboard before dozens of police personnel on duty at the school stopped them.
Batam One-Stop Integrated Licenses Service Agency head Gustian Riau said the agency decided to revoke the school building’s construction permit (IMB) following the incident, but he was at a loss as to why the residents were only now expressing opposition. “We have revoked the IMB, but during the building’s licensing process, no one objected,” he said.
Nixon Sihombing, a lawyer who represents the foundation, said the protest was a result of incitement by outsiders. He said there had been no opposition to the school construction because it was planned as a regular vocational school.
“It is also wrong for residents to accuse us of land grabbing. The housing developer has granted the land to us. They should have complained to the developer,” he said.
- Jakarta sinking fast: Experts
- Here are 10 of the most populated cities in the world
- Of legs and Pancasila: Two petitions battle it out over BLACKPINK ad
- Lotte Chemical Indonesia begins construction of plant in Cilegon
- Don’t panic: Indonesian ‘cendol’ different from Singaporean ‘cendol’
- Tips to help you brew better coffee at home
- TNI denies explosive use during rescue after Papua shootings
- Environmentalists face greater risks amid development drive
- Prabowo answers all your burning questions in his little blue book
- ‘Obsess over problems, not idols’: 9 pieces of advice from Nadiem Makarim