Victims of 1965 killings postpone national meeting following death threats

CNN Indonesia – August 6, 2015
YPKP 66 chairperson Bedjo Untung announces postponement of meeting - August 6, 2015 (CNN)
YPKP 66 chairperson Bedjo Untung announces postponement of meeting - August 6, 2015 (CNN)

Aulia Bintang Pratama, Jakarta – A national meeting of the Institute for the Study of the 1965-1966 Massacres (YPKP 65) that was to be held mid next week in the Central Java city of Salatiga has been postponed following death threats against organising committee members.

Several YPKP 65 have also been approached by intelligence officer from the national police urging them to postpone the event.

YPKP 65 chairperson Bedjo Untung said that the threats came from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Islamic Defenders Guard (GPI) adding that the threats contained many provocative words.

“They are fundamentalist groups who call themselves the FPI and the GPI and use the words of jihad [war] and say that [spilling] the blood of former political prisoners is halal [rightful under Islamic law], said Untung in Jakarta on Thursday August 6.

Untung added that the provocation has in fact affected the mood of the YPKP 65 members that were invited and frightening them.

Yet the national meeting was to be attended by only 50 people, including representatives from the government’s National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), the Witness and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK) and the Law and Human Rights Ministry.

Further, the location for the event, the LP3S Building, had already been prepared to hold the event. Moreover the building’s management, said Untung, had no problems with the venue being used for a YPKP 65 gathering.

“Not only the building management, even the mayor of Salatiga has given approval and support”, said Untung.

Untung said that the organising committee however became concerned about continuing with the event after several intelligence officers from the police in Salatiga approached the committee and appealed to them not to hold the national meeting.

Moreover the building management was persuaded to withdraw permission to hold the event. “The police intelligence asked that the national meeting be cancelled, not just postponed”, he said.

After some consideration, Untung and the YPKP 65 members planning the meeting decided to postpone the event on the grounds that it could give rise to heavy financial losses if it went ahead. “I anticipated that it could give rise to even greater financial losses”, said Untung.

Based on information obtained by CNN Indonesia, the threatening messages called on FPI members to conduct a jihad to wipe out communists. The messages also called on the FPI not to allow the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) to exist in Indonesia.

Earlier the YPKP 65 had also been accused of putting up hammer-and-sickle flags in Salatiga in the lead up to the national meeting. The news of the flags spread quickly on the social media and attracted many comments from net citizens. The YPKP 65 however has denied responsibility for this provocative action.

“We were indeed to hold a national meeting on August 7-8 in Salatiga. However we have never flown flags of any kind related to communism”, said Untung when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Monday August 3. “It’s not true, it’s a manipulation and provocation”, he said.

Untung said that since its formation, the YPKP 65 has never used communist terms or logos and symbols related to communism such as the hammer-and-sickle in any of the events or activities that it has held.

The YPKP 65’s activities, said Untung, are related to the struggle for the rehabilitation of the victims of human rights violations in 1965, particularly those that have been stigmatised or treated unfairly by past governments (utd)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Dapat Ancaman FPI, Temu Nasional Korban 65 Dibatalkan.]