Papuan students report Malang police chief over racist ‘shoot to kill’ order

Complaint against Malang police chief
The formal Papuan complaint against Senior Commissioner Leonardus Simarmata over the alleged "shoot to kill" racial slur. Image: IndoLeft News/Tribune

By Igman Ibrahim in Jakarta

Malang city district police chief (Kapolres) Senior Commissioner Leonardus Simarmata has been reported to the Indonesian police’s professionalism and security affairs division (Propam) over alleged racial slurs when securing an International Women’s Day (IWD) rally by Papuan students on March 8.

The report was registered by the Greater Jakarta Papua Student Alliance (AMP) in the name of Arman Asso at the national police headquarters Propam.

The report was registered as Number SPSP2/815/III/2021/Bagyanduan dated March 12, 2021.

“Today we Papuan students officially reported Malang Kapolres Pak [Mr] Leonardus Simarmata for issuing an instruction and statement which was very racist and discriminatory against Papuan students in Malang city”, said AMP lawyer Michael Hilman at the Propam building in Jakarta yesterday.

Hilman explained that Simarmata made the racist remark during a protest action held by the Papuan Solidarity Movement with the People (Gempur) in the East Java city of Malang on March 8.

At the time, the protesters were taking up themes about women’s rights and opposing the extension of the Papua Special Autonomy Law (Otsus). The protest was later marred by a scuffle between students and police.

It was at that time that Simarmata is alleged to have made the racist statement which was seen as deeply offensive to the Papuan people.

“The racist remark deeply hurt our feelings as Papuans, where as a senior [official] who should promote human rights and provide proper security services for demonstrations he instead made a statement which was very, very racist,” said Hilman.

The racial remark or words expressed by Simarmata were, “Shoot, just shoot, [spilling] the blood of [Papuan] students is halal [permissible under Islam]. Shoot, just shoot”.

According to Hilman, the remark has inflamed Papuans in all corners of the county.

“We are concerned that this could spread like the 2019 incident in Surabaya. This is the same as what was done by police in Surabaya,” Hilman said.

“So we are concerned that it will go viral on every social media group and it has already gone super viral and had responses on WhatsApp groups, this has to be reported so it doesn’t spread in Papua.”

The storming of a Papuan student dormitory in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya in September 2019, which was proceeded by racist slurs by ultra-nationalist groups and security personnel which went viral on social media, led to widespread and sometimes violent anti-racist protests across West Papua.

Translated by James Balowski of IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “Kapolres Kota Malang Dilaporkan ke Propam Atas Dugaan Ujaran Rasial Terhadap Mahasiswa Papua”.

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