Former 1965 political prisoner want the term PKI dropped from G30S

CNN Indonesia – October 2, 2020
YPKP 65 Chairperson Bedjo Untung speaking to reporters – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – A former political prisoner who was arrested in the aftermath of the September 30 Movement (G30S) affair in 1965, Bedjo Untung, is asking all parties to stop pinning or using the term “Indonesian Communist Party” (PKI) after saying or writing G30S.

According to Untung, including the term PKI after G30S is incorrect, because many historical documents prove that the PKI was not actually the mastermind behind the obscure affair in Indonesia’s history.

“Please, I sincerely ask, starting from now don’t use it anymore, because based on research by many parties, and I myself know precisely, it’s enough to use the term G30S”, said Untung during a “Secret” discussion at the CNN Indonesia Newsroom on Thursday evening, October 1.

Untung, who in 1965 was 17 years old, was a victim of the arrests and ended up being imprisoned for nine years without trail. He said that many people who were accused of being PKI were treated inhumanly.

Untung said that quite a few of his colleagues were abducted, robbed, their homes torched and even murdered in despicable ways such as being beheaded and sliced up. According to Untung there were many similar incidents in many parts of the country.

“I think that I am indeed a direct victim, who can represent my colleagues who suffered the same fate”, he said.

The chairperson of the Institute for the Study of the 1965-1966 Massacres (YPKP 65) also questioned the grounds for which then Kostrad (Army Strategic Reserves Command, Green Berets) commander Major General Suharto immediately accused the PKI of being the perpetrators or the masterminds behind the G30S affair within just 2x24 hours.

He drew an analogy with unsolved crimes which been committed since then where the state has found it difficult to find the perpetrators, such as the assassination of human rights defender Munir Said Thalib in 2004 or acid attack on senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan in 2017.

“Now we can draw an analogy with Munir’s killer who has still not been arrested. With those who threw acid at Baswedan who have not yet been arrested, compared with such a complex affair which was solved in 2x24 hours, meaning Suharto made the decision [on who was guilty]”, he said.

Because of this, Untung is asking all parties to stop accusing the PKI of being the mastermind behind the G30S because the accusation will only discredit them because it is contradicted by valid historical documents.

Untung also said that his friends who were accused of being PKI members were good people who are modest, honest and against polygamy.

According to Untung, the brutality which was perpetrated against them was intentionally committed by a group of parties with a particular interest. He also denied that PKI members were atheists or did not believe in God.

Untung said that his father went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and he also became a muazin – a person chosen by a mosque make the call to prayer – while he was in prison at the integration camps at Kalong and Salemba.

“So all of it was just cooked up. That the PKI are atheists and anti-God. It’s not true”, he said. (thr/ain)


On the night of September 30, 1965 a group of middle-ranking military officers kidnapped six generals they accused of organising a coup against Indonesia’s leftist President Sukarno. For reasons that remain unclear, the six were killed and their bodies dumped in a well in South Jakarta. By blaming the incident on the PKI, this provided the pretext for sections of the military, led by a Major General Suharto, to mount a bloody counter-revolution in which as many as 1 million communists and left wing sympathisers were killed. Hundreds of thousands of others were imprisoned for years without trial.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Eks Tapol Bedjo Untung Minta Istilah PKI Dihapus dari G30S”.]