Jakarta-KPA: Thousands of peasants in the village of Senyerang, Regency of Tanjung Jabung Barat (Tanjabar), Jambi, returned to takeover of land and indigenous land area of 7224 ha which was deprived of PT Wirakarya Sakti (WKS) – a subsidiary of Sinarmas Forestry.
Action of members of the peasant Union of Jambi (PPJ) will be started after Friday prayers (25/11/2011). In its action, their plan would make the occupation of land ranging from canal 14, 15, to 19 which has been deprived of the company.
This action, had to be done by citizens after disappointment with the promises that never fulfilled by the government. Dialogue and negotiations ranging from central to local government has been conducted by peasants. However, various agreements which obtained from the results of negotiations, none of which are kept by the company and the government, they seemed to let.
Conflicts between Senyerang peasants with PT WKS started in 2001. Precisely, after the issuance of Decree No.. 52 by the Regent of Tanjung Jabung Barat, Usman Ermulan. He recommended switching-function area of 52,000 ha with status The Area of Other Use (APL) to Production Forest Area (HP). Furthermore submitted to the PT WKS to be managed a business of Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI).
Based on the Decree No. 64/Kpts-II/2001 from the Ministry of Forestry, without the negotiation process with Senyerang community , PT WKS displacing peasants’ land and Society indigenous land and then cultivated acacia-ucalyptus plants.
In an open letter which was sent to mass medias, the peasants said they would continue to fight to reclaim indigenous land which was deprived by PT WKS. Because, the land area of 7224 hectares is the only one area that is still available to the community of Senyerang. In order to sustain their life until in the future.
Background of the Conflict
PT. Wirakarya Sakti (WKS) is a subsidiary of Sinarmas Forestry. The company obtained the concession land area of Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI) covering 357,461 hectares and spread over five regencies in the province of Jambi. Namely, Batanghari , Jambi Muaro, Tanjung Jabung Barat , Tanjung Jabung Timur , and Tebo Regency.
However, the appointment of the concession land area which was undertaken by the Minister of Forestry by Decree (SK) No.744/1996, many found the settlements and plantations owned by the community. Resulting in conflict between society and the decree holders who felt already has the rights to the area.
Conflict between society and PT WKS began in December 2007 and started from the village of Lubuk Mandarasah, Tebo Regency. Then spread to other villages until the village of Senyerang. At the beginning of the conflict, about 12 heavy equipment PT. WKS deployed for displacing rubber and oil palm plantation . However, citizens successfully blocked and burned heavy equipment that will be used to displace the plantation owned by citizens. In this incident, 21 peasants Lubuk Mandarsah Village arrested and detained by police.
Peasants resistance never stopped. November 10, 2010, clashes between peasants and police who guarded PT WKS occurred again. A peasant from the village of Senyerang was shot dead by Brimob troops. Since the incident, various attempts has been done by citizens. However, the way out of peace and interests of the peasants as a citizen, it seems undesirable by the government. So the conflict that has been claimed the lives on the part of peasants would not be over soon■ -Sidik Suhada-