Police arrest community literacy activists over ‘pro-communist’ books

Kompas.com – July 28, 2019
Arrested Vespa Literacy Community activists and the four books – July 27, 2019 (Istimewa)
Arrested Vespa Literacy Community activists and the four books – July 27, 2019 (Istimewa)

Ahmad Faisol, Probolinggo – Police arrested two literacy activists who had setup a free reading stall at the Kraksaan public square in Probolinggo regency, East Java, on Saturday July 27. The two youths were arrested for allegedly displaying books by former Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) leader DN Aidit.

Police justified the arrests on the grounds that it is prohibited to distribute the books in Indonesia.

“Four copies of the books which are believed to be pro-communist were seized. Aside from the books, two literacy activists were also arrested by the Kraksaan Mapolsek [sectoral police headquarters]”, said Kraksaan sectoral police chief Police Commander Joko Yuwono on Sunday July 28.

According to Yuwono, the DN Aidit books displayed at the free book stall included the titles The Two Faces of Dipa Nusantara (Dua Wajah Dipa Nusantara), Embarking on the People’s Road (Menempuh Djalan Rakjat), DN Aidit a Short Biography (DN Aidit Sebuah Biografi Ringkas) and Sukarno, Marxism & Leninism (Sukarno, Marxisme & Leninisme) by renowned Indonesian historian Peter Kasenda.

The two arrested activists – who are members of the Vespa Literacy Community – were MB (24), a resident of Jati Urip Village, Krejengan sub-district, and Saiful Anwar (25), a resident of Bago Village, Besuk sub-district, Probolinggo.

“These books are currently banned in Indonesia, we have secured the books. The two will be released after they have been intensively questioned. We are still developing the investigation to discover the origin of the books”, said Yuwono.

Yuwono said that the Vespa Literacy Community is headed up by Abdul Haq, a student originating from the Karanganyar Village in Paiton sub-district, Probolinggo regency.

The community holds free book reading stalls in and around the Kraksaan Square every Saturday evening.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pajang Buku DN Aidit di Lapak Baca Gratis, Dua Pegiat Literasi Ditangkap”.]

Source: https://regional.kompas.com/read/2019/07/28/20351611/pajang-buku-dn-aidit-di-lapak-baca-gratis-dua-pegiat-literasi-ditangkap