Students condemn anti-Papua taunts

Students condemn anti-Papua taunts

19 May 2010

A hundred students staged a rally in front of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) campus on Jl. Ganesha on Tuesday in support of Papuan students who had been subject to racist online taunts by an ITB student.

Protest coordinator Yohanes Okdinon said the student, Dzulfikry Imadul Bilad, vented his disappointment when local football side Persib Bandung drew with Persipura Jayapura by posting racial insults on Facebook on May 3.

“His act has provoked anger not only among Papuan students in Bandung but across Indonesia as well,” Yohanes said.

He said Dzulfikry posted an apology the following day on Facebook but added that the statement was insincere.

“For the mistake I made yesterday in my post, I apologize for the misunderstanding. I beg for the understanding from all parties who felt they have been hurt or annoyed. Thanks a lot,” said Yohanes, quoting Dzulfikry’s statement.

This, Yohanes said, further incensed Papuans. On May 3, he said, more than 300 Papuan students from various regions had accessed Dzulfikry’s Facebook page. Some even tried to find his whereabouts.

“To avoid possible escalation, our representative sent him a text message on May 5 and we agreed to meet to settle the issue.” Yohanes said.

A meeting was held the same day between Dzulfikry and representatives of Papuans with ITB’s vice

Yohanes said his side wanted ITB to punish Dzulfikry for his posts as an example to others, and demanded Dzulfikry apologize to all Papuans.

“We also want the case to be handled according to the information and electronic transaction law,” he said.

Yohanes added that ITB had to announce its decision regarding the matter transparently via electronic and print media.

“We also urge the government to pay special attention to cases of racism that can pose a threat to the nation and state,” he said.

ITB said it would not apologize to Papuans as Dzulfikry’s statement was a personal expression. “We consider this his personal responsibility,” ITB spokeswoman Marlia Singgih Wibowo said.

Marlia, however, said that ITB’s disciplinary commission would investigate the case to learn more about possible mistakes committed by its students.

The commission, she added, would hear directly from Dzulfikry.

“This afternoon the commission will start its meeting to evaluate the level of wrongdoing that Dzulfikry may have committed. That’s why we don’t know what punishment to hand down as we are still waiting for the result of the meeting,” Marlia said.