KNPA Emergency Funds Supports the Struggle of Bonto Ganjeng Peasants Union

Benni Wijaya

Jakarta ( – KNPA Emergency Funds Team supports the struggle of Bulu Balle peasants, Pattapang Sub-district, Tiga Moncong District, Gowa Regency of South Sulawesi Province. This supports is related to criminalization cases which befalling the peasants of Bonto Ganjeng Peasants Union. From information received by KNPA emergency fund team, currently there are 8 individuals named as suspects without going through proper procedural channels. Among them are Dg. Linrung (73 years old), Minggu (48 years old), Kahar (41 years old), Bado (52 years old), Sudirman (49 years old), Nurdin (55 years old), Halim (38 years old) and Rais (32 years old).

They are accused by Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership (PSKL) for the alleged criminal acts of joint public seizures and destructions according to the provisions of Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP) Article 167 and 170.

Beginning in February 2017, the residents called were amounted to 13 individuals whom were later named as witnesses. However, in the previous July 2nd, 9 of the residents were interrogated as suspects by the Police Resort of Gowa Regency. These residents were named suspects on March 2018, a month before questioned at the Police Resort, unfortunately one of them passed away and currently there are only 8 residents named as suspects.

Presently, these peasants are legally assisted by South Sulawesi Branch of KPA & Makassar Legal Aid Institution (LBH). Among the 8 residents, only 5 of them received legal assistance. On these conditions, KNPA Emergency Fund supported them to receive justice.

Regarding the Land Rights Claim.

According to Dg. Linrung’s confessions, quoted by Makassar Legal Aid Institution, it was in fact the PSKL whom illegally claimed their lands “we’re not the ones doing the grabbing, it was the PSKL who did it. Because we had already living and cultivating farmlands here for generations even before the independence of Indonesia. We are also oblivious to the transferring of our village into forest area,” Confess Daeng Linrung.

Mentioning the claim on rights, actually the currently disputed lands are arable lands belongs to the residents. Even though they don’t formally possess the rights, that land has been cultivated for generations.

It was in 1979, the forestry side (red: presently PSKL) arrived borrowing 3 hectares of the residents land for their Citra Alam project. Soon after, they also borrowed another 32 hectares of it.

According to the resident village chief, the borrowing processes are done through agreement that the people are still allowed to cultivate their own land. Although the types of plants cultivated are according to the requests of Citra Alam. Beside, as the enticement the residents will be hired as manual labour like drivers or security personnels. 

Three years later, Alam Sutera wasn’t operating there anymore. Starting since 1981, the Citra Alam side has begun to abandon the lands. Witnessing the situation, the residents returned to the lands and started to cultivate it. By planting vegetables and another holticultural plants, the residents continues for around 30 years until the criminalization incidents befalling them on 2017. (BW)

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