Tulang Bawang – The arrest performed by police apparatus upon some members of BNIL Eviction Victims Peasant Union (STKGB), on Sunday (2/10) can not be allowed. The action tended to be one sided because they arrest villagers, who actually were victims of the incident. They were only victims of provocation started by Pam Swakarsa helped by a bunch of thugs.
Offensive acts of STKGB members were actually their defensive action against Pam Swakarsa and the thugs aggression.
Information sent to us stated that chronologically it started when Pam Swakarsa tried to attack villagers’ campsite area. At that time borderline post between villagers and Pam Swakarsa campsite was only guarded by a police. It was happened at 08:30 on Saturday (1/10).
Pam Swakarsa tried to take benefit from the situation by attacking and driving villagers out of plantation area. Though the post was guarded by some police and army, at that time there was only one personnel presented, who was unable to prevent the incident.
It was suspected, though, that the situation was created intentionally, by calling back personnels from their guarding post at that particular time, so it would not be controlled.
At 10:00 WIB (West Indonesian Time), a clash erupted between villagers and Pam Swakarsa helped by thugs. Pam Swakarsa started by provoking to drive the villagers out of occupation site. The villagers did not take the action into consideration, thus the clash happened.
The clash caused two cars of PT BNIL and 15 motorcycles were burned down, another 24 units were drowned into a river.
It was unfortunate that the incident was happened only one day after Head of Tulang Bawang District visited the location. He said that he would establish a task force to resolve the dispute between villagers and PT BNIL.
On the next day, Sunday (2/10), Head of Lampung Police Region visited the location by mobilizing 700 personnel, consisted of 500 mobile brigade personnel and 200 women police personnel. They were assisted by local police personnel of Mesuji and Tulangbawang and also Pam Swakarsa.
Instead of appeasing the tense, they drove out and beat down villagers who held out their ground on the location.
The apparatus equipped by complete riot gear, such as water canon, shield, barbed wire, weapons and watched by two helicopters entered the campsite on the location one by one without so much resistance from the villagers.
The recessive villagers could not resist them and chose to run and get out of the location. However the apparatus apparently did not let them go, instead they chased them down to housing area surround to find those that were hiding.
Villagers action of occupying plantation area was made to be the reason of aggression and eviction by Pam Swakarsa and PT BNIL. It could not be accepted. Moreover there was also repressive action performed by apparatus toward villagers, that obviously sided to PT BNIL.
The occupation of villagers on PT BNIL plantation area was a form of their disappointment toward local government who has not yet taken any action in resolving land dispute between villagers and the company, which in fact has been going on for tens of years.
The villagers were only victims of the event. Therefore, the act of apparatus which arrested seven members of STKGB was an act that reflecting injustice of the state apparatus. They did not want to see first on the matter of the conflict. They only accepted report from the plantation and Pam Swakarsa that clearly wanted to repress villagers.
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