Mukhlis Dinillah, Bandung – Padjadjaran University (Unpad) students are protesting the use of Mobile Brigade (Brimob) paramilitary police as security on campus. The students say that their presence threatens the democratic freedom of Unpad students.
One of the students, Viona Mahardika, said that Brimbo’s presence on the Jatinangor Unpad campus began to be felt in January when scores of campus security personnel were sacked after campus security was taken over by the agency PT Kartika.
She said that the sacking of security personnel attracted protests resulting in a meeting with PT Kartika and various Unpad elements at which PT Kartika said that they were cooperating with Brimob to improve security for an indefinite period of time.
“During the audience PT Kartika said that the use of Brimob for campus security would only be temporary until the selection of [new] satpam [security personnel] was complete”, Viona told Detik.com on Friday April 27.
Since then, said Viona, Brimob personnel could be seen in the vicinity of the old front gate and at new building construction sites on Unpad. The Brimob officers maintained security along with campus security personnel but also monitor student activities.
“It has been most tangible this month because the Brimob officers aren’t just maintaining (security) but I have felt on several occasions when [we’ve] held events on campus it’s always under surveillance”, said the German language student.
Viona gave the example of when she was with several other students holding a Kamisan action at Broklyn Unpad on March 29 and one of the Brimob officers approached the action and started taking photos.
Moreover she explained the Brimob officer asked questions about a permit for the action and the location being used. The Brimob officer admitted that they were asking these questions as part of their duties and would report it to campus authorities.
“Broklyn Unpad is a free public space, so there is no need for a permit. As students this is our home, how can a permit be needed. They [the Brimob officer] said that they were carrying out their duties and would report it as part of campus security. We are questioning this policy”, she said.
“A similar thing happened to the LPPMD [the Democratic Society Study and Devotion Institute] when they setup a stall to recruit new members, as well to the Unpad BEM KEMA [Student Executive Council Student Community]”, she added.
The sixth semester student said she deplored the involvement of Brimob in Unpad campus security because, she added, Brimob is a special police unit tasked with handling terrorism, explosives and assisting the TNI (Indonesian military) during war.
“Looking at these kinds of Brimob duties and functions, their presence on Unpad is misplaced. Just get rid of Brimob from the campus. Students will definitely be harmed by the undemocratic actions of Brimob”, said Viona.
Viona’s complaints have also been written about in an article on the LPPMD website. (ern/ern)
Kamisan – Roughly translated as “Thursday Actions”, every Thursday since January 18, 2007, the Solidarity Network for Victims and Families of Victims (JSKKK) has been organising silent actions in front of the State Palace calling on President Yudhoyono to resolve past human rights cases.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Mahasiswa Keluhkan Keberadaan Brimob Jadi ‘Satpam’ Kampus Unpad.]