President Sends Team to Meet Wadas Villagers Rejecting Andesite Mining

Arfi Bambani
Wadas residents gathered in a mosque (Photo: Instagram/@wadas_melawan)
Wadas residents gathered in a mosque (Photo: Instagram/@wadas_melawan) - The Presidential Staff Office (KSP) had deployed a team to go directly to Wadas Village, Bener District, Purworejo, Central Java to come and hear residents' complaints on the national strategic project. This rejection had become a violent event a couple of days ago.

A team led by KSP Main Expert Joanes Joko met with several residents who agreed and not agreed with the construction of the Bener Dam. Seen around the village, there are still several members of the Police and TNI on guard.

"We want to get comprehensive information about the chronology of the incident last Wednesday (February 8). We also want to hear what they think about the construction of the Bener Dam. For residents who support it, the construction of the dam is believed to provide many benefits," said Joko said through a written statement to Antara, Sunday, February 13, 2022.

KSP also visited Dukuh Prajan to meet residents who opposed the construction of the Bener Dam. Based on KSP team monitoring, in Dukuh Prajan, no longer seen visible security forces guarding in place. Residents' activities seem to be running normally.

Seeing the presence of Joanes Joko with KSP experts, several residents and representatives of the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) invited the KSP team to the foyer of the Hidayatul Islam Mosque, more commonly known as the Prajan Mosque, to chat.

Initially, the meeting was attended by only a few people. But after a few hours, dozens of residents arrived and the chat room moved into the mosque. In front of hundreds of Wadas Village residents who rejected the construction of the Bener Dam, Joko opened a dialogue.

“Dalem nyuwun suko panjenengan (I apologize to you all--in Javanese). We have come here ready to listen to the residents' concerns, please tell the truth. Those who want to be angry, nggeh monggo (please do--in Javanese)," said Joko.

Getting this opportunity, residents one by one spoke about the police arrival incident, their reasons for refusing andesite mining, and the construction of the Bener Dam. Sometimes people's emotions get out of control when telling the chronology of events, some even look like they're crying.

“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for meeting us and conveying everything. We have heard and recorded carefully the voices of all of you. We will convey to the President (President Joko Widodo) about this," said Joko as he ended the meeting which lasted more than three hours.

Joko said several things needed to be followed up from the visit. "Among them are the implementation of operations in the field by security forces that need to be evaluated, and the reasons for the residents' refusal based on economic, environmental, and socio-cultural aspects," he said.

"KSP will encourage an intensive dialogue process between the government and the people of Wadas Village so that communication bottlenecks can be resolved," said Joko.

Previously, the KSP team also met Central Java Police Chief Inspector General Ahmad Luthfi and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo. In the closed meeting, KSP received a lot of information related to security procedures, incidents of arrests of residents, to the issue of the construction of the Bener Dam.

"We have received confirmation from the Police Chief that the residents who were previously detained have been released again, they were also given gifts," said Joko.

Tag # national strategic project # arbitrary arrest # central java # bener dam project # mining industry # president jokowi

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