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Jakarta Post

Kampung Pulo preparing for legal suit

  • Evi Mariani and Dewanti A. Wardhani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, August 22, 2015   /  04:36 pm
Kampung Pulo preparing for legal suit New home: Residents of Kampung Pulo in East Jakarta move their belongings to a rental apartment in Jatinegara Barat, Jakarta on Friday. The Jakarta city administration forcibly evicted the residents from their houses in Kampung Pulo on Thursday, igniting protests and clashes. (JP/P.J. Leo) (JP/P.J. Leo)

New home:  Residents of Kampung Pulo in East Jakarta move their belongings to a rental apartment in Jatinegara Barat, Jakarta on Friday. The Jakarta city administration forcibly evicted the residents from their houses in Kampung Pulo on Thursday, igniting protests and clashes. (JP/P.J. Leo)

Kampung Pulo residents in East Jakarta kept calm on Friday while the forced eviction by the city administration continued following clashes on the first day of evictions on Thursday.

The city intends to demolish hundreds of houses where around 1,040 families live. The families have the option to relocate to three rental apartments in the municipality: nearby Jatinegara Barat, which has 520 units, Komaruddin Apartment in Cakung and Cipinang Besar Selatan Apartment all in East Jakarta.

In the meantime, religious and community leader Habib Soleh, assisted by community organization Ciliwung Merdeka, has been collecting information about the residents'€™ history of land ownership. On Friday, one by one, the residents, both those who have been evicted and those who have not, gave Habib their copies of documents either in the form of verponding (property ownership proof) issued by the Dutch administration before independence or the subsequent purchase proof of verponding land.

'€œOne by one they came to me to give their copies. Now we have found several verponding numbers,'€ he said.

The documents are part of the residents preparations to file a legal suit against the city administration'€™s claim that the land belongs to the administration.

Vera Soemarwi, head of Ciliwung Merdeka'€™s legal team, said the residents would file the suit at the court soon. She argues that the absence of ownership certificates does not mean the residents do not own the land. She said many residents were not able to update their ownership documents during the government programs Larasita and Prona in the 1970s and 1990s, respectively, because of red tape and high costs. She said the verbonding were legal documents that should have been able to be converted to ownership documents.

On Friday, Ciliwung Merdeka and Kampung Pulo residents held a press conference, expressing their regret over the clashes that critically injured a passerby on Thursday.

Eko Prasetyo, a 22-year-old resident of Jatinegara, East Jakarta, was badly injured after the chaos in Kampung Pulo. Eko'€™s cousin Yani Setiawati said that Eko was in the area to pick up his younger sibling, who attends public elementary school SD Balimeester 01, located near the riot area.

'€œThe incident occurred in the morning. Eko was picking up his younger sibling from school. However, he was caught up in the riot,'€ Yani said over the phone on Friday.

Yani went on to say that Eko was pulled over by a Public Order Agency Officer (Satpol PP) and was beaten. Eko was then arrested and taken to the East Jakarta Police headquarters.

Others who were arrested told the police that Eko was not a Kampung Pulo resident. Only then was he released and brought to Carolus Hospital in Central Jakarta.

Yani said that Eko was badly injured and received heavy blows to the head. She said that Eko was being treated in the hospital'€™s intensive care unit.

East Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Umar Faroq apologized for wrongly arresting Eko and said the matter was currently being investigated.

Muhammad Halili, a Muslim preacher in Kampung Pulo said during the press conference that the public held some misperceptions about Kampung Pulo residents. '€œWe supported the river normalization program. Who said we didn'€™t? But please don'€™t intimidate us, physically or verbally,'€ Halili said.

On Thursday, the city administration sent a force of more than 2,100, equipped with tear gas, shields and sticks to evict settlements along the Kampung Pulo riverbank.

'€œCome to us in peace. Today the Kampung Melayu subdistrict head [Bambang Pangestu] finally visited Habib Soleh. And 20 Satpol PP officers also came to the residents to talk. The residents gave them drinks and snacks,'€ Halili said. '€œThat'€™s how it should be, talk to us.'€

On Thursday, Jakarta Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama held firm against the residents from morning to afternoon, saying that there would be no talk about compensation and the eviction would be completed as soon as possible.

The city administration has said that they gave the residents enough time to dismantle their own houses and relocate to the nearby Jatinegara Barat rental apartments.