The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) lambasted Tanjung Balai Police in North Sumatra for slow action and failing to detect the potential for religious and ethnic conflict, which erupted in the city at the end of July.
“Ibu Meliana complained about the volume of the adzan (call to prayer) from a mosque in her neighborhood one week before the conflict occurred,” Komnas HAM commissioner Natalius Pigai told journalists on Thursday.
He was referring to a 41-year old Buddhist woman of Chinese descent, identified as Meliana, who complained about the volume of the loudspeaker at Al Maksum Mosque in Tanjung Balai. Several vihara (Buddhist monasteries) and pagodas were looted and burned in a riot that erupted following a meeting between Meliana and the mosque’s congregation members on July 29.
Natalius said that one week before the attacks occurred, Meliana told her neighbor, whose father was one of the mosque’s administrators, that the volume of the adzan from the mosque was louder than usual.
On the day of the riot, Natalius said a rumor circulated among residents that a woman of Chinese descent had urged a mosque to not issuing the adzan and asked the mosque’s administrators to turn off the mosque’s loudspeaker.
The commissioner said the police had one week to detect and prevent the riot. He said the police failed to take measures that could have prevented the riot, which involved hundreds of people. (wnd/ebf)