National Police Chief Says No to Rohingya Protest at Borobudur

The Ministry of Tourism invited Korean media representatives and bloggers on a cultural and nature trip to Yogyakarta, Magelang and Solo in Central Java on Nov. 29 - Dec. 4.(Photo courtesy of the Tourism Ministry)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 6:58 PM September 05, 2017
Category : News, Featured

Jakarta. National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has ordered a ban on a planned protest in solidarity with Rohingya Muslims, scheduled to take place at Borobudur, the world's biggest Buddhist temple, in Central Java, saying it has no relevance to the ongoing crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

"I strongly prohibit the protest at Borobudur. I have ordered the Central Java Police chief to issue an order against it," Tito said in Jakarta on Tuesday (05/09).

He said the Rohingya crisis is not a religious matter, but a conflict between the Myanmar government and the Rohingya community.

Tito said the organization, Representatives of the Indonesian Buddhist Community (Walubi), and leading Buddhist figures in the archipelago have also explained that the crisis has nothing to do with Buddhism. He added that this meant Indonesian Muslims had no reason to protest at a Buddhist temple.

"[The Rohingya crisis] is a problem between a government and an ethnic group. The Myanmar government claims that the Rohingya are insurgents that are attacking the government," Tito added.

Hendardi, chairman of rights group, the Setara Institute, meanwhile said the Indonesian public should not allow the Rohingya crisis to divide them.

He said the Rohingya crisis can be exploited by radical groups to foment tension in Indonesia, using religion as a tool.

"Religious populism is always on the cards in a humanitarian crisis like this, especially since the actors involved belong to different religions and ethnic groups," Hendardi said in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

He said allegations of discrimination and genocide on the basis of religion and ethnicity against the Rohingya are very likely to gather solidarity and public support from Indonesians.

Hendardi said he supports the steps taken by the Indonesian government so far in an attempt to find a solution to the crisis, such as sending Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Myanmar to lobby for peace.

But aside from that, Hendardi said the government should also guard against groups that seek to exploit the issue for domestic political gain.

"If the government does not take political steps to prevent this, the potential is there for social tension in Indonesia to be exacerbated by this issue," Hendardi said.

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