By STUDENT NATIONAL FRONT
Stop the arrest of 31 peasants of Pandumaan Sipituhuta by the Subregional Police of Humbang Subregional Hasundutan, NorthSumatra!
Once again, an agrarian conflict resulted in the arrest of the peasants who defend their land. Incense plantations covering 4100 hectares and forming part of “tanah adat” (land which use is regulated by traditional local law) which have been cultivated by local peasants were targeted to expand the Toba Pulp Lestari Company, owned by Sukanto Tanoto in the village of Sioituha Panumaan, Tollung District, Humbang Hasudutan, North Sumatra.
A total of 16 peasants were arrested while they were on duty on the night of 26 February and another 15 in the early hours of the same day, making a total of 31 peasants arrested by Subregional Police of Humbang Hasundutan. The arrest, that began with the tracking of the area, was accompanied by violence, beating and throwing stones against the peasants. Police fired warning shots.
This conflict began in 2009, when the company began to clear the incense forest which is part of the traditional indigenous land. InOctober 2012, police arrested some peasants. Various efforts have been made by the peasants to exclude the land from the concession to the company. They have sent a letter to the Ministry of Forestry. However, until now, the company continues to clear the forest of incense.
The arrest of the peasants by the Subregional Police of Humbang Hasudutan has further extended the criminalization of the peasants’ activities. According to the citizen advocacy team, the 15 detainees will be transferred to the Regional Police of North Sumatra.
The monopoly of land in Indonesia, specifically in northern Sumatra, has always been detrimental to the peasants. Rather than being a protective force for peasants, the police has become a corporate apparatus to suppress them. The police has even ignored (turned a blind eye to) the illegal logging committed by the company. The government, instead of quickly resolving the conflict, continues to ignore it.
On the basis of the exposure above, the Central Direction of the Student National Front strongly condemns the arrest of the peasants by the Regional Police of HumbangHasudutan. We also demand that:
the Subregional Police of Humbang Hasudutan release the 31 arrested peasants of Pasudutan
the Chief of State Police of the Republic of Indonesia withdraw his troops from the agrarian conflict location in Humbang Hasudutan district, North Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia.
the police and other state instruments stop all acts of intimidation and violence against the people and investigate the incidents thoroughly and prosecute the perpetrators of violence!
the Toba Pulp Lestari Company stop logging in the incense forest that forms part of the indigenous land and stop land grabbing.
the government of SBY-Budiono take concrete actions to stop violence, intimidation, terror and arbitrary arrest against the people fighting for their rights.
the government of SBY-Budiono prioritize actions that reflectthe principles of democracy in agrarian disputes
We also invite all the people of Indonesiato organize themselves and fight together and demand the rights that have been usurped bythe fascist government of SBY–Boediono.
Long live the People Indonesia!
Victory to the Mass Struggle!
Jakarta, 26 February 2012
Student National Front
L.Muh. Harry Sandy AME