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Hundreds of Police Enter a Village in Dispute over Stone Mining
The police is reported to have entered the village to intimidate and make arbitrary detention, and head of advocacy at YLBHI Zaenal Arifin said legal team from Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Yogyakarta) has been unable to provide legal assistance to people in the village. The team even reportedly couldn’t reach the location which will be turned into an andesite stone mining.
“Legal team from LBH Yogyakarta [represented by] Julian and Danil isn’t allowed to enter Wadas village without power of attorney letter,” Arifin said through message on Tuesday, February 8, as reported by Suara.com.
According to him, people in the village were gathered in local mosque and unable to carry out their daily activities.
It was reported that 250 personnel from the military, police, and municipal police accompanied 70 officials from the National Land Agency and the agriculture office who came to Wadas to assess the land for a dam project.
“People inside the mosque are surrounded by the police and aren’t allowed to leave while assessment continues,” Arifin explained.
On Monday, the hundreds of police set up tents in Kaliboto field behind Bener police headquarters, which is also the entry point to Wadas village. The electricity in the village was also out during this time.
“On Tuesday, a husband and a wife from Wadas, who were heading to Purworejo, passed the Bener police and found that the street has been filled with police cars. When they had breakfast in the area, they were approached by police and taken to the police headquarters. The wife fled to Wadas, but her husband’s whereabouts remain unknown,” Arifin said in a written statement, as reported by Suarajawatengah.id.
In addition to that, communication signals also disappeared.
Police Says the Arrest Is a ‘Hoax’
Meanwhile, the police has denied the alleged detention. Public relations unit at Purworejo police First Pol. Inspector Mardim Suryantoro firmly said there has been no arrest as no official statement has been issued, either from Purworejo or Central Java police units.
“No official statement means [it’s] hoax,” Suryantoro said.
When asked about the morning assembly of hundreds of police officers, he asked the public to wait for official release.
Based on Central Java Governor’s Decree No 509/41/2018, Wadas was established as location for andesite mining stone, which will be used as main material to build Bener Purworejo Dam.
The mining will take up to 145 hectares of land, and 8.64 hectares will be used as access road to the project. It will use blasting, and is 5,300 tons of dynamite are estimated to be utilized.
Wadas residents are also against the mining as it threatens the 27 springs in the village, which will eventually impact their agricultural land.
Bener Purworejo Dam is a national strategic project that will occupy area in Bener, Kepil, and Gebang subdistricts.