Indonesia’s Terror Burial Anger Boils Over

Solo. The suspected terrorists killed here last week continued to cause trouble on Thursday, with anger between groups of armed protesters over one of their burials nearly sparking a street battle. Bagus Budi Pranoto, a k a Urwah; Ario Sudarso, a k a Aji; and Susilo, a k a Adib, were shot dead along with Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist, Malaysian Noordin M Top, during a raid on Susilo’s rented house in Kepuhsari near Solo, on Sept. 17. Urwah’s family wants to bury him in their home village in Kudus, Central Java, but has this week faced strong opposition from locals there, while Aji’s family has also generated anger over their plan to bury him in his home village of Purbalingga, also in Central Java. Susilo’s family and neighbors have prepared for him to be buried at Solo’s Pracimoloyo public cemetery. Thursday’s stand-off came as a result of friction over posters criticizing Susilo’s burial. A group calling itself the Alliance of Solo Youth Organizations on Wednesday night put up scores of banners expressing their objections. Later that night they were pulled down by members of the Solo chapters of two radical Islamic groups — the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid, chaired by hard-line Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir. Alliance supporters put up new posters on Thursday morning, and when the FPI and JAT members tried to pull them down again around noon, the rival groups swelled to about 800 people, mainly from the FPI and JAT. The stand-off occurred on Solo’s busy main thoroughfare, Jalan Slamet Riyadi, although armed officers from the police’s elite Mobile Brigade (Brimob) unit dispersed the crowd before they clashed. Police arrested six FPI and four JAT members for possessing weapons including rocks, sticks, knives and chains, Solo Police Chief Sr. Comr. Joko Irwanto said. “If there is enough evidence to support the case, they will be charged with violating Article 170 of the Criminal Law on violence against people and property.” He said the alliance had a police permit to conduct a rally and put up the banners, so removing them was criminal. “Especially because they were caught red-handed with weapons that might cause injury to others,” he said. Alliance coordinator Kusumo Putro, said the posters, with slogans such as: “Solo United Against Terrorists,” reflected the community’s sentiments. “We don’t want the people of Solo, who are actually friendly and against terrorism, to become victims of terrorist propaganda,” he said. Khoirul Rus Suparjo, FPI chairman in Solo, said he regretted the arrests of the group’s members, especially because it allegedly involved police violence. “Even if they had to make the arrests, there was no need to beat them.” Sholeh Ibrahim, a JAT leader from Bashir’s Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school in nearby Ngruki, agreed, saying it had been a “peaceful rally.” Central Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo said he could sympathize with the anger felt by residents. “Poor Solo. Its people are actually kind and friendly, but because of the terrorists, with the ring leader even killed here, the city’s image had been more or less besmirched,” he said. Meanwhile, in the suburb of Kagokan, where Susilo’s parents live, residents said they had prepared a grave at a local cemetery two kilometers away. “Even though [Susilo] turned out not to be a good citizen outside of his village, he remains remembered as a good citizen here,” said Katino, a neighborhood head. Meanwhile, Endro Sudarsono, a lawyer representing the families of Urwah, Aji and Susilo, said representatives would collect the bodies from Jakarta on Friday.

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