The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Fadil Imran has questioned the public’s reactions to recent criminal acts and crowd gatherings amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which he says can claim lives.
His comment comes amid the brouhaha over the deaths of six Islam Defenders Front (FPI) members in a case related to health protocol violations.
He compared the situation to a hypothetical robbery and murder of a family, a case that he said would likely trigger public outrage.
“The public would be horrified by the [incident] and there would be a series of the news stories in the media. [The perpetrators] would be considered vicious,” he said at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Friday as reported by kompas.com.
But the public has reacted differently to crowd gatherings during the pandemic, which could lead to more COVID-19 victims and even their deaths, he added.
“[The hypothetical case] and crowd gatherings can both lead to death,” Fadil said.
“The COVID-19 mortality rate is 1.3 percent. More than four people die every day of COVID-19 in Jakarta. But what happens? We act normally even though there are people who die from it every day.”
Jakarta, Indonesia’s epicenter of the outbreak, has the highest COVID-19 infections with 150,250 cases, according to Health Ministry data on Friday. Eighteen people died of COVID-19 on Friday, bring the capital’s total death tally to 2,900.
Fadil stressed the importance of avoiding crowds to prevent contracting the disease as any crowd-gathering events during the pandemic can cost lives and material losses.
Fadil further said that the police would bring down the law on anyone creating large gatherings during the pandemic.
“We will take action against anyone whose actions have cost lives and other losses,” he said, urging Jakartans to take COVID-19 health protocols seriously to help curb transmission.
His comments came in the wake of the deaths of six FPI members in an alleged clash with Jakarta Police officers on Monday.
Activists and civil society organizations have lambasted the police for the shooting, which took place as investigators were tailing an entourage of FPI leader Rizieq Shihab.
The controversial cleric had allegedly evaded a police summons for questioning for holding a Maulid (Prophet Muhammad's birthday) celebration and his daughter’s wedding in his house and the group’s headquarters in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, last month.
The Jakarta Police have named Rizieq and five other people suspects for alleged health protocol violations.
Also on Monday, legal representatives of the group visited the Jakarta Police to pick up the summons for the six suspects.
“The summons for questioning had not been delivered, so we proactively came here to get the letter,” FPI lawyer Azis Yanuar said at the Jakarta Police headquarters as reported by kompas.com.
Azis said his visit aimed to help the police in their investigation and also to prevent a possible clash between the police and FPI members if the former delivered the summons letters directly to Petamburan.
He said Rizieq and the other five suspects, FPI officials who had reportedly organized both events, would come for questioning on Monday.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said on Friday that Rizieq would be arrested if he failed to answer a second police summons.
Rizieq was charged under Criminal Code articles 160 on the incitement of criminal acts and 216 on obstructing law enforcement efforts. He could face up to six months in jail if found guilty. (ami)