Students arrested and detained by the Mimika Police when preparing the 'Bakar Batu' ceremony with Lemasa (Lembaga Musyawarah adat Suku Amungme (Lemasa/Amungme Customary Council). -Jubi/Ist

“We’re not involved”, KNPB declines Mimika Police Chief’s statement

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Students arrested and detained by the Mimika Police when preparing the ‘Bakar Batu’ ceremony with Lemasa (Lembaga Musyawarah adat Suku Amungme (Lemasa/Amungme Customary Council). -Jubi/Ist

Jayapura, Jubi – The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) declared they were not involved in the Bakar Batu (roasting stone) ceremony in Timika on Thursday (19/9/2019). Recently returning-home students and their families initiated the ritual at the lawn of Lemasa Office.

The Spokesperson for KNPB Timika Edo Dogopia said it is to decline the announcement made by the Mimika Police Chief Agung Marlianto. In his statement, Marlianto accused KNPB, ULMWP and OPM have drawn people in two points, the former Lemasa office and the tomb of Kelly Kwalik. The reason they did it, he further said, is to attract people’s attention.

“The police chief’s statement is not valid. KNPB Timika did not intervene or help, and even did not attend the ceremony. You should know that the ceremony was completely organised by students who return home after the incident of racism,” Dogopia told Jubi on Saturday (21/9/2019).

Moreover, he emphasised that KNPB Timika had not received any instruction from the Central KNPB related to this activity. Meanwhile, the ceremony ended with forced dissolution and arrest of dozens of students in front of their parents.

“So, once again, I declared that the statement by the Mimika Police Chief is not true. Stop pointing a finger on us,” he said.

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Furthermore, he said KNPB regretted the police’s reaction disbanding people who were rejoicing in the traditional ritual of Amungme, Kamoro, Mee, Nduga and Migani.

“Their reaction indicates harassment towards the Papuan culture. The ‘Bakar Batu’ ritual is part of the culture that needs to conserve. The police and military should help to secure this activity because students are the future of this nation and country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Mimika Police Chief Agung Marlianto said the police did not issue the permit for the activity. The similar aspiration, he said, has been done by the regional government, military, police and LPMAK.

However, the Director of Lemasa Odizeus Beanal disagreed with the police chief’s statement. According to him, people did not make trouble by throwing stones towards police officers and soldiers during the event. Also, the ceremony held in the lawn of Lemasa Office.

He said the police came when people were ready to close the hole of Bakar Batu and told people to must dissolve in five minutes. When the situation turned normal, people found shell casing around the Lemasa Office.

“The ceremony was completely arranged by the community. Lemasa, as a public institution, facilitated it to embrace the returning students. I do not know what the police chief meant about KNPB, OPM and ULMWP,” said Beanal (*)

 

Reporter: Abeth You
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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