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Jakarta Post

Plan to construct Hindu temple in Bekasi met with protest

  • Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 7, 2019   /   06:45 pm
Plan to construct Hindu temple in Bekasi met with protest Hindus from Greater Jakarta pray at the Aditya Jaya Hindu temple in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, in this file photo. They gathered at the temple to pray and celebrate Nyepi (Day of Silence). (The Jakarta Post/P.J. Leo)

Videos and photos that appear to show local residents protesting over a plan to construct a Hindu temple in Sukahurip village in Sukatani district, Bekasi regency, West Java, have gone viral.

The images circulating online show people protesting with banners, one of which reads: “Be careful! If you insist on building the temple, we are ready to carry out jihad as you are the one who started this.”

Bekasi Police chief Sr. Comr. Candra Sukma Kumara confirmed that the protest took place, but denied it was staged by local residents.

“Local figures, who are also members of the Bekasi Religious Harmony Forum [FKUB Bekasi], have been discussing the temple construction plan since 2017 without any backlash. The protest allegedly comes from residents outside Sukahurip village,” he told The Jakarta Post via text message on Tuesday.

According to FKUB Bekasi data, there are 6,000 to 7,000 Hindus in the regency.

FKUB Bekasi head I Made Pande Cakra, who is involved in the project, said that, currently, Hindus from the regency who wanted to practice their rituals had to travel all the way to Pura Agung Tirta Bhuana in neighboring Bekasi municipality.

The Hindu community, he said, had established a committee and worked to meet all requirements needed to build the temple.

“We have complied with a joint ministerial decree (SKB) that requires that we gain support from local residents and people who will use the temple,” Pande said, referring to a decree issued by the religious affairs minister and home minister in 2006.

The SKB requires support for the construction of a house of worship in the form of a list of names and copies of ID cards from 60 local residents and 90 people who will use the facility.

“Indonesia is our home. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). Adherents of all religions have the same right to observe their religions in their houses of worship. It’s stated in Article 29 of the 1945 Constitution,” he said.