Criminalization to Ratatokok Peasants, Agrarian Conflict Handling Does Not Change

Benni Wijaya

Southeast Minahasa ( – Repressive approach and intimidation involving law enforcement officers is apparently still practiced in the process of agrarian conflict resolution. Currently, 5 peasants from Ratatokok Village, Ratatokok Sub-district of Southeast Minahasa Regency in North Sulawesi experienced criminalization.

Those five peasants accepted the summons of Ratatokok District Police on March 5th 2019. In regards to the summons was the report of PT. Ratatokok that accused those peasants in illegally reclaiming their lands.

Even though, those peasants did not directly answered the summons due to their fear of police intimidation. Other than that, the lands currently claimed by the people has been abandoned by the company or corporation.

In her statement, Frederika, one of the Ratatokok Peasants member said that the peasants didn’t want to summons from the Police Force due to the fear of criminalization and intimidation. The Ratatokok Peasants Organization itself is one among several peasant bases within MInahasa Peasants Union (SPM).

The climax happened on Sunday morning (10/3/2019) in around 10 AM of Central Indonesia Time, several houses were marked with police line. This shocked the villagers and made them even more afraid.

Those houses marked with police line are permanent houses and currently renovated house”, explained Frederika.

Meanwhile, Simon Aling, Leader of SPM asked those 5 peasants to answer the summons and explained the position and status of the lands currently in conflict. Unfortunately, before the peasants answered the summons, the police have already marked the villager’s houses with police line.

Getting that treatment, the victims, on Monday (11/3/2019) finally answered the summons of Ratatokok Police, accompanied by 200 other organizations members to the Ratotokok Police District answered the summons of Ratatokok Police District in order to clarify those summons.

At the end, the Ratotokok District Police has removed the police lines installed on the previous day.

Regarding the Ratatokok Agrarian Conflict.

According to Marthen Wowor, Head of Ratatokok Peasant Organization, the current land that they’ve cultivated snd reclaimed previously were owned by PT. Ratatokok that, since 1974, operated the 290 Ha of lands here. Their permit ended in 1999 with the extension of their HGU (Right to Cultivate permit) to 2027 although the width lessened to 250a Ha.

The company hewed down coconut trees for land-clearing on 2008-2010. But soon after that, there hasn’t been any activity from the company.

“Since the company started logging form 2008 to 201, we sees that there hasn’t been any replanting by the company’s party. While the villagers required the lands for their crops as the main sources of income.” Said Marthen.

Observing from this condition, the villagers initiated to cultivate the abandoned lands previously belonged to the company. The result was on 2015 the villagers succeeded in reclaiming and cultivating those lands. The total lands reclaimed are 150 Ha with 148 for cultivation of Clove & Nutmeg. While the rests are utilized for housings & settlements.

Strengthening Consolidation 

Post-Sunday Incident, all peasant organization members along with SPM as the parent organization organized consolidation meeting on Thursday (14/3/2019) in Ratatokok

The meeting attended by at least 300 people is to re-strengthened the consolidation between the organization on the foundation level, as preparation if in the future the company’s party begin to intimidate them again.

“We will performed the strengthening of peasant-cultivators data and will be organizing routine weekly meeting. With the purposes of preventing other means done by the company’s party such as criminalization or intimidation,” affirmed Simon while in Ratatotok Village.

“I also wanted to urge the members that land control currently done was not a simple control, but as a form of struggle against injustice,” Simon closed.

Abandoned Lands, Agrarian Reform Objects

According to the Presidential Regulation No. 86/2018 on Agrarian Reform, abandoned lands is one of the objects of land redistiribution within the agrarian reform.

Abandoned land came from lands with former/ex-HGU (Hak Guna Usaha/Rights to Cultivate) Permit, Lands with HGU permits that are not controlled or directly utilized or lands with misapproporiated HGU permit, in accordance to PP No. 11/2010 article (2) on the Control and Utilization of Abandoned Lands. With the explanation above, the HGU permit of PT. Ratatokok should be erased by its own and those lands were directly controlled by the state to be given to the people who needed it the most because, the company has been abandoning it for a very long time.

In this issue, the government must grant those lands to the people around the ex-HGU areas if they’ve reclaimed and required it. Even so, the in several cases, the government doesn’t seemed like they’ve got the intention in properly doing this. Other than giving it to the people, the government much prefers to give the permits to companies/corporations or silently extending the HGU permits even though it has not been requested by the owners.

“When the HGU lands that have been abandoned by the companies/corporations, the peasants will reclaim and cultivate those lands. Then in accordance to Presidential Regulation No. 86, those abandoned lands are now considered as an Agrarian Reform Objects and be redistributed to the peasants,” elaborated Dewi Kartika, The Secretary General of KPA (Consortium for Agrarian Reform).

“This must also be recorded by the government to not indiscrimately issued HGU Permits to all companies. Even if the company activities were perceived as effective because there are a lot more peasants that required lands to be cultivated,” Dewi continued

Law Enforcements Involvement in Agrarian Conflict Resolution

The current government’s policies haven’t changed a lot especially in term of agrarian conflict resolution. The presence of police officers, and even in several cases, that also involved the Indonesian Army (TNI) is still considered typical for Indonesia.

Without even mediating 2 conflicting parties, the presence of Polie & TNI has more oftenly ended up in intimidation and terror upon the people in onflicts area. This most definitely will ruins the situation even more that it already is.

No doubt that even though conflicted with the company’s party. But in the field, the people are oftenly must directly faced the repressive action from the law enforcement

KPA recorded that since 2015, there are 940 people became the victims of criminalization, 546 were persecuted, 51 were shot down and 41 has died. The victims were sentenced with the accusation of breaking various law articles & constitutions. Such as the Criminal Code, Plantation Law and Law on Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction (UU P3H). Not only that, the victims were also accused of unusual sentenced such as being a communist or abuse of state symbol.

What has been happening in the past four years is like an anomaly for the current government. Due to, in several instances, the government oftenly claim that they’ve implemented agrarian reform. While the reality in the field is very much different.

Force eviction, agrarian conflict and criminalization has no end. Although agrarian reform purpose are to finish and eradicate those kind of issues, With a more democratic approach through discussions that put forward a more just & fair principles. (AR/BW)


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