The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) have criticized a plan by the Kuningan District Court to confiscate customary land belonging to the traditional Adat Karuhan Urang (AKUR) Sunda Wiwitan faith in Cigugur district, West Java, which was slated for Thursday.
PGI noted that the seizure was too rash and would destroy cultural values of customary land.
"It is against the principles of justice. It will only hurt and disadvantage the indigenous people who have stayed, protected and preserved the site," PGI spokesman Jeirry Sumampow said in a statement on Thursday.
"Preserving cultural heritage is a concrete way to protect our identity as a civilized state. It`s our effort to protect cultural values and original customs of our society.”
He further claimed that irregularities and signs of discrimination had been found in the court`s decision.
The site was home to the Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal building, which has been listed as a National Cultural Heritage site at the Cultural and Education Ministry since 1976. It has become a center of activities for the people of Sunda Wiwitan since the late 18th century.
Dispossession of the indigenous group’s customary land started when a resident named R. Djaka Rumantaka sued Kunadi and Mimin, members of the Sunda Wiwitan faith.
Djaka claimed that the land on which Kusnadi and Mimin were staying belonged to his parent. A court later ruled in favor of Djaka. (yon)