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Jakarta Post

Protests held to block first Hindu temple plan in Bekasi

  • Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Wed, May 8, 2019   /  08:42 am
The Jakarta Post Image
'Pemangku' (Hindu priest) splashes holy water to one of the Melasti participants at the end of the ritual. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

For thousands of Hindu followers in Bekasi regency in West Java, praying in a temple is no easy feat. Whenever they want to observe rituals during big religious holidays, they have to go to Pura Agung Tirta Bhuana Temple in neighboring Bekasi municipality. There are between 6,000 and 7,000 Hindus in the regency of 3.5 million people, who are predominantly Muslim, according to data from Bekasi Regency Interfaith Communication Forum (FKUB). For the minority community it has long been a dream to have a temple in the regency. But the plan to construct what would be the first Hindu temple in the regency has been met with protests. A video and photos circulating online show dozens of people erecting banners and staging protests on Sunday against the construction plan in an empty plot in Sukahurip village in Sukatani district. One banner put up in the front part of the land reads: &...