Jakarta – Alumni Brotherhood 212 (PA 212) Chairperson Slamet Maarif has denied accusation that the group intentionally provided a flag with the hammer-and-sickle logo on it to be set alight during a protest action against the Draft Law on Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (RUU HIP) on Wednesday June 24.
Earlier, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said he suspects that the group themselves printed the hammer-and-sickle flag that was used during the action in front of the House of Representatives Building (DPR) building.
“No way”, said Maarif in an SMS messages sent to CNN Indonesia on Thursday June 25.
Despite the denial, Maarif was not however able to confirm how the incident could have happened because when the flag was being burnt he was mediating with DPR Deputy Speaker Aziz Syamsuddin inside the parliamentary complex.
Maarif also claims that he does not know who burnt the flag, although, he said, it is quite possible that the flag burning incident was carried out by infiltrators. “I don’t know yet, it’s being investigated”, he said.
Pranowo also questioned the origins of the hammer-and-sickle flag which was burnt by a mob dominated be people wearing white pecis – velvet caps worn by Muslim men.
Earlier, a number of people set fire to a hammer-and-sickle and a PDI-P flag during Wednesday’s protest against the RUU HIP in front of the parliamentary complex in Jakarta. The action was initiated by the PA 212.
“I don’t know where they got the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party] flag from, certainly the PKI flag must have been produced. I think that law enforcement officials should just grab the ones who burnt it, [and ask] where did you get the PKI flag from? I suspect that they printed it themselves”, said Pranowo in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang as quoted by the state news agency Antara on Thursday.
The hammer-and-sickle flag is closely linked with communism and the PKI. People’s Consultative Assembly Decree (TAP MPRS) Number XXV/1966 outlawed the PKI and prohibits all activates which spread communist teachings.
On several occasions police have taken action over hammer-and-sickle flags such as a case in Makassar, South Sulawesi, when the flag was discovered on the Hasanuddin University campus in May.
The Makassar municipal police pursued the case by applying Articles 24, 66 and 67 of Law Number 24/2009 on State Symbols which is subject to a sentence of five years in prison. (dhf/arh)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “PA 212 Bantah Siapkan Sendiri Bendera Palu Arit yang Dibakar”.]