The Rally on Ahok”s Case should Conduct Peacefully

By : Erlangga Pratama*)

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, Thousands of people plan to join a protest held on Friday in Central Jakarta against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s alleged religious defamation remarks. “There are about 5,000 people from a variety of civil organizations who plan to march from Istiqlal Mosque up to City Hall,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Awi Setiyono. He urged protesters to conduct the rally peacefully.

As part of security measures, Jakarta Police will deploy 2,800 personnel to secure the areas where the protests will be held as well as to make sure there are no disruptions in public order and traffic.

The protesters, comprised of Islamic-based groups, such as Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), will observe Friday prayer in Istiqlal Mosque before a march to the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Agency (Bareskrim) office in Gambir, Central Jakarta.

The protest is in response to Ahok’s alleged religious defamation. The protesters demand Bareskrim to process the report filed against the outspoken governor.

Not only in Jakarta, the protest mass rallies against Ahok has been held in several provinces such as Surabaya (East Java), Bandung (West Java), DI Yogyakarta, Semarang (Central Java), Padang (West Sumatera), Medan (North Sumatera), Makassar (South Sulawesi) etc.

The National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) will follow up a report that Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama committed religious defamation, Bareskrim chief Insp. Gen. Ari Dono Sukmanto confirmed on Friday. He said Habib Novel Chaidir Hasan, the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) secretary-general, filed the report to Bareskrim on Thursday. Habib accused Ahok of religious defamation when the incumbent talked about Surah al-Maidah verse 51 of the Alquran during a visit to Thousand Islands Regency.

Responding to massive protest against him, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama visited the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department’s (Bareskrim) headquarters in Gambir, Central Jakarta, on Monday as he wanted police investigators to question him in relation to religious defamation allegations against him.

Bareskrim’s general crime unit chief Brig. Gen Agus Andrianto said Ahok had initiated the questioning. “Ahok has requested a time to be questioned. It was he who wanted to make clarifications [in regard to the allegations],” Agus added.

Multifier Effects on Religious Defamation

However, politically Ahok has taken political blunder because he was made unappropriate statement which called as religious defamation or religious blasphemy specially Ahok’s enemies would be politicized that Ahok has intention to insult the Alquran.

Actually, from Ahok’s statement, we can analyse that ones could be triggered a negative national sentiment among religious communities in Indonesia. Because of that, Ahok’s statement could be influencing the grow of Tribe-Religion-Race (SARA) conflict or social segregation within society.

Eventhough, Ahok visited to Bareskrim and asked to interograte by them, these problem couldn’t stop easily because SARA issue is an sensitive issues in Indonesia which had been warned since new-regime era.

Indeed, some of survey research has searched that Ahok-Djarot still leading from their competitors such as Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno and Agus Yudhoyono-Sylvia Murni, but if Ahok’s political blunder will still run, its to be a seriously matters which must be handled carrefully by their team.

Furthermore, a lesson learnt from Ahok’s blunder is every leader in Indonesia should be wisdom to make public statement specially if its related with religious teaching or a holly book from each religion in Indonesia. Ahok’s alibi which was clarified that he hadn’t bad intention to insult the Alquran, didn’t work well.Meanwhile, Ahok’s competitors have been waiting the end of these case. If these case will end with perfectly, the chance of Ahok-Djarot to win the Jakarta’s Gubernatorial elections on February 15th, 2017 can decrease and Jakarta’s gubernatorial elections will be finishing on second round.

Since the case has been handled by police officers, protest or mass rallies should be reduced, because its could increasing political situation either in Jakarta or in other provinces in Indonesia. If the protest will continue, protesters should conduct the rally peacefully. Be aware that some group might used this case for themselves interest.

*) The writer is an Indonesian strategic issue observer. Residing in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.