Deputy Mayor: Punk Community a ‘New Social Disease’
Banda Aceh. Deputy mayor Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal says she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty in her crusade against the punk community of Banda Aceh, proudly telling of how she has supervised police raids at cafes and city parks in recent months.
“The presence of the punk community is disturbing, and disrupts the life of the Banda Aceh public,” Illiza told the Jakarta Globe.
Sixty-four young people have been held by the Aceh Police since Saturday for the supposed crime of being “punk”. They have not been charged with any crime or brought before a court.
On Tuesday afternoon, police took the detainees to the Aceh State Police camp, located in the hills 62 kilometers outside of the city, to “re-educate” them. Mohawks and dyed hair came off as police shaved the men’s heads and forced them into a lake. The women’s hair was cut short in the fashion of a female police officer.
“This is a new social disease affecting Banda Aceh. If it is allowed to continue, the government will have to spend more money to handle them,” the deputy mayor said, adding that religious scholars were assisting at the camp.
One of the 64 detainees, a punk music fan from Medan, North Sumatra, said he had traveled to Banda Aceh to take part in a concert that aimed to raise money for orphans.
“What is going on here? I work as a contractor for a bank in Medan. I’ll probably be sacked for not coming in to work for a week,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous.
When his case was put to Illiza, the deputy mayor responded: “He’s part of the punk community and whoever was caught has to go through our reeducation so they wake up.”
She said the police would hold people from outside the province of Aceh for 10 days, but that Acehnese natives could be held longer.
“If they join the punks, they will be treated the same as the rest of them,” she added.
“They told us in their permit application that they were Aceh Youth, holding a concert to raise money for orphans, but they didn’t say they were punks. They had marijuana and alcohol and everything at that concert,” Illiza said.
Illiza added that public places in the city such as Taman Sari and the Tsunami Museum were becoming unattractive because young people did not take regular baths and dressed shabbily.
“Their morals are wrong. Men and women gather together, and that is against Islamic Shariah,” she said.
She guessed that the number of punks in the town was around 200.
The punks in custody range from teenagers to people in their thirties. Illiza said that there had been some as young as twelve years old at the concert, but that they had escaped the police raid.
Fuazan, 20, an Acehnese punk whose head is now roughly shaved, said he was not impressed with his treatment at the hands of the police.
“What did we do to deserve arresting?” he asked, looking troubled. “We didn’t steal and we didn’t bother anyone. The punk community in Banda Aceh is not involved with criminality.”
“So what’s the crime that justifies us being brought to this camp? This country hasn’t yet made it illegal to express yourself, right?”
“And what of our livelihoods? Please help us,” Fuazan said. “How are we supposed to support ourselves now that we’ve been brought here?”
Illiza, who claimed she has the support of the public, said the police would continue to hunt for punks in Banda Aceh.
“We will keep conducting raids until they’re all caught, then we’ll bring them for reeducation here.”
“Aceh is a Shariah region,” Illiza added. “Everyone should obey it and the punk community is clearly against Shariah.”
“This training will be an example in Indonesia of the reeducation of the punks.”