Farih Maulana S, Jakarta – The Trisakti University has commemorated 21 years since the tragedy which took place on May 12, 1998. The commemoration was held by retracing the footsteps of those killed in the incident and scattering flowers on the Trisakti campus grounds.
Present at the event on Sunday May 12 was acting Trisakti University Rector Ali Ghufron Mukti along with university staff and Trisakti students who wore black and white clothing.
Mukti gave a short speech before a flower scattering ceremony was held. He reviewed the incident which took place during the administration of former president Suharto and the reformasi (political reform) movement in which four Trisakti University students were killed.
“It hardly feels as if 21 years has passed since the tragic incident of May 12, 1998 which killed four Trisakti University students. The heartbreaking incident was linked with the political climate of the era of president Suharto’s which resulted in four Trisakti students being killed”, said Mukti.
“Now, the four Trisakti students, which include Elang Mulia Lesmana (1978-1998), Heri Hertanto (1977-1998), Hafidin Royan (1976-1998) and Hendriawan Sie (1975-1998), will always be a historic memory of the May 12, 1998 incident”, he continued.
According to Mukti, the four students who fell that day were heroes. He said that the commemoration of the Trisakti tragedy is important because occurred in a political year – referring to the turbulent events that led to Suharto’s overthrow.
“Now 2019 is also a year which can also be said to be a political year, because of the election of the president and vice president, the DPR [House of Representatives], the DPRD [Regional House of Representatives] and members of the DPD [Regional Representatives Council], so of course our nation cannot be allowed to forget the May 12, 1998 incident”, said Mukti.
Mukti said that the families of the victims are still waiting for responsibility to be taken for the deaths. Mukti said he hoped that the government will soon find an explanation for the deaths of the four students.
On May 12, 1998, security forces fired into a crowd of student protesters from the Trisakti University near their campus in West Jakarta, killing four students and injuring several others. This proved to be the spark which set-off three days of mass demonstrations and rioting in Jakarta which eventually lead to the overthrow of former president Suharto. Then armed forces chief and defense minister General Wiranto, who is now the Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs, has been accused of having command responsibility for the Trisakti and other student shootings in 1998 but has never been investigated over the case.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Trisakti Gelar Peringatan Tragedi 12 Mei 1998”.]