Jakarta. The Surabaya Legal Aid Institute, or LBH Surabaya, has called on the East Java Police to investigate violence exercised by its officers who dispersed a meeting hosted by the Papuan Students Alliance last week.
On Friday (06/07) evening, members of the police, the Indonesian military (TNI) and the municipal police (Satpol PP), raided a Papuan students' dormitory in Tambaksari, Surabaya, East Java, in what they referred to as "Yustisi Operation," meant to ensure enforcement of district regulations, as laid out by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
However, LBH Surabaya said in a statement that Tambaksari subdistrict head Ridwan, who led the operation, was unable to produce a warrant to enter the dorm.
The Papuan Students Alliance was going to host a screening for its weekly discussion, which this time fell on the 20th anniversary of the Biak massacre.
In July 1998, 40 Papuans were killed and more than 100 arrested and tortured by Indonesian security forces for hoisting the Morning Star flag used by the Free Papua Organization and other Papua independence supporters.
Friday's operation was carried out after local residents expressed their concern that the weekly discussions pose a threat to the country's unity, state news agency Antara reported.
According to LBH Surabaya, this was not the first time that the police harassed Papuan students.
The institute has called on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to order the police and military to stop intimidating citizens.
"The East Java Police must conduct a thorough investigation on the violence perpetrated by its officers against Papuan students in East Java," it said in the statement.
LBH Surabaya also called on the East Java Police to act firmly against one of the officers who reportedly harassed a female participant of the discussion.
Anindya, who attended the meeting on Friday, said she was molested while trying to establish a peaceful dialogue with the police.