Iqbal Tawakal Lazuardi, Jakarta – Papuan students in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung feel hurt and angry after being given two boxes of alcohol by a police officer.
“It’s the same as demeaning our dignity. We immediately took it to the protest action and returned it to police”, said Miles C Jikwa, the student who received the alcohol.
The two boxes of alcoholic drink were delivered by a police officer to the Land of Papua Student Solidarity Association (Imasepa) in the Cilaki area of Bandung on Thursday August 22.
They were delivered at the same time as a protest action was being held by the Papuan students at the Gedung Sate building (governor’s office) in Bandung. In addition to the alcohol, the police also gave them rice and instant noodles.
“So around 1.19 pm, two police officers, one of whom was in full uniform named Christiaty, arrived at the student dormitory and gave us two boxes of whisky. They said, ‘This is for later, tonight, don’t tell anyone’”, Jikwa told Tempo.
Jikwa then took the alcohol to the protest action intending to return it to the police who would be guarding the rally. As it turned out, one of the police officers that was there was the one who gave them the alcohol, rice and instant noodles.
Superintendant Christiaty has clarified that the drinks were not alcohol but ordinary refreshments. She also apologised to the Papuan students if they are not allowed to give them such gifts.
“This afternoon I want to clarify it. The drinks were just refreshments which I wanted to give them”, she said.
The Papuan students at the demonstration however rejected this explanation saying that the drinks were clearly alcohol. “It had 19 percent alcohol written on it”, said one of the students.
The Bandung municipal police have yet to provide a clarification on the incident. The head of the Bandung police’s public relations division has not responded to enquires by Tempo.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Diberi Miras Polisi, Mahasiswa Papua Bandung: Itu Rendahkan Kami”.]