Taman Sari`s evicted residents pursue alternative avenues after court loss
BANDUNG –Residents who were evicted from Taman Sari subdistrict in Bandung, West Java, have filed more than 100 complaints to the government’s online public-service complaint system to step up their fight against their eviction.
Twenty residents submitted around 120 reports regarding the losses they suffered during the eviction, which occurred in December last year, to the lapor.go.id online portal. The reports included details on loss of property, loss of income, as well as adverse effects on their health.
“According to the lapor.go.id mechanism, we should get a response from the government within three days,” Aang Kusmawan of Bandung-based NGO Perkumpulan Inisiatif (Initiative Group), which has been working with the residents, said on Wednesday.
“It’s true that items such as school uniforms can be bought, but what residents want to know is, how is the government going to take responsibility?”
On Dec. 12, about 1,200 officers from the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), Indonesian military (TNI) and police were deployed to evict the residents and demolish dozens of houses, affecting at least 33 households that had refused to be relocated.
Residents Sambas Sadikin and Budi Rahayu filed their case in court, asking for a postponement and allow them to vacate the land and challenge the environmental permit issued for the Bandung administration to build low-cost apartments.
The Bandung Administrative Court ruled in favor of the administration, saying that it had found no irregularities in the issuance of the environmental permit. Read also: Bandung`s evicted residents keep fighting despite defeats.
Here`s why. Sambas, 58, was also among the residents who had submitted a report to lapor.go.id. “I did not only lose a house but the place where I was born and raised. That is worth more than gold,” he said.
Another evictee, 45-year-old Eva Aryani Effendi, said losing her house also meant losing her livelihood, as she had started a clothing business in her two-story home.
“A decades-long business just disappeared. I feel that I have been impoverished by the government,” she said. “I was only given five minutes to gather my things. Now that everything is destroyed, how can I make a decent living?”
Enjo, a 38-year-old evictee, said he would continue to fight for compensation.
“I am taking a stand because it’s not just about monetary compensation. Evictions shouldn’t be considered a normal thing by claiming to represent the greater good while making others suffer,” he said. “The other victims and I are also citizens that have the right to prosper.”
Rizky Ramdani of the Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) said the online reports were part of the residents’ efforts to fight for their rights.
“If we do not get a response, then, of course, we will continue to the next step, which is to file a report with the West Java branch of the Indonesian Ombudsman,” he said. Forty-one of the evicted residents, including 12 children, are currently staying at the nearby Al-Islam mosque. Fourteen others have chosen to stay with their relatives or rent rooms outside of Taman Sari. (kmt)
Photo: Residents who refuse to vacate the land in Taman Sari, Bandung, West Java, hold up posters during a hearing at the Bandung Administrative Court on 12 December. The court ruled in favor of the city administration, which wants to build a low-cost apartment on the land the residents have called home for decades. Source: JP/Arya Dipa.