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Jakarta Post

UGM urged to apologize for alleged role in purge

  • Slamet Susanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Wed, November 18, 2015   /  06:12 pm

Yogyakarta'€™s Gadjah Mada University (UGM) was involved in the purge of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its supporters in 1965 and the following years, a participant of the International People'€™s Tribunal in The Hague has claimed.

UGM even supposedly received a plaque from the Indonesian Military (TNI) Army'€™s Special Forces (Kopassus) for its involvement in crushing the PKI.

However, UGM rector Dwikorita Karnawati has denied those claims, saying that UGM was never institutionally involved the in violence.

A number of the UGM alumni grouped under the UGM Alliance for the 1965 Tragedy, created a petition on the site urging the UGM rector to acknowledge the involvement of the UGM academic community in the 1965 tragedy and apologize to the victims of the tragedy and their families who had suffered as a result.

'€œThe petition should be viewed as an effort to support UGM to do the right thing regarding the 1965 tragedy. It'€™s not an attack against UGM,'€ one of the petition initiators, Naomi Srikandi, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Naomi said the UGM academic community must now have the moral responsibility to acknowledge the event and convey its regret.

By doing so, she said, UGM would be seen as an institution that prioritizes reason and conscience for the sake of resolving conflicts in the country and would also encourage reconciliation that will break the chains of violence and vengeance.

The petitioners gave the example of the moral leadership of former president Abdurrahman '€œGus Dur'€ Wahid and Palu Mayor Rusdy Mastura, who are both famous for their efforts to reconcile with supporters of the PKI, as those who should be role models for the UGM rector.

At present, more than 500 people have endorsed the online petition.

UGM rector Dwikorita Karnawati admitted that there was the possibility of UGM academic society members'€™ being individually involved in the 1965 communist purge, but added that at an institutional level, the university was not involved.

'€œWe are firmly drawing a line between institutional and individual activities. It is impossible for us to monitor and be able to reach the activities of all individuals at UGM,'€ Dwikorita said on Tuesday.

The rector'€™s statement was in response to the testimony of Titin, a 1965 communist purge victim, during a hearing session at the International People'€™s Tribunal (IPT) for crimes against humanity in 1965.

In her testimony, Titin claimed that one of the people who tortured her during the 1965 purge was Loekman Soetrisno, a notable UGM professor.

Dwikorita said that the university would not seek clarification about Prof. Loekman'€™s alleged involvement in the 1965 atrocities.

Commenting on an honorary certificate dated Dec. 15, 1965, received by UGM from the Army'€™s Special Forces (RPKAD, now Kopassus), Dwikorita said the certificate was a form of appreciation of the university'€™s great contribution to the country. There have been rumors that the RPKAD gave the certificate to show its respect for the university'€™s support of the 1965 communist purge in Central Java.

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