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SINAR HARAPAN (English Translation)

Sinar Harapan Jakarta Daily Newspaper (11/30/05) – Five churches in the villages of Bencongan and Bencongan Indah, Kecamatan Curug, District of Tangerang, were forcibly pulled down by a police unit satuan polisi pamong praja (Satpol PP) of the Government of Tangerang, Wednesday November 30.

The five churches are:

The Protestant Christian Church of Indonesia (GKPI),

The Pentecostal Church of Indonesia (GPI),

The Huria Batak Protestant Christian Church (HKBP),

The Hallelujah Pentecostal Church of Indonesia (GBHI), and

Bethel Indonesia Church (GBI), and a

Prayer house.

The destruction was carried out based on a decree to destroy them from the police Unit with the number 365/761-SPP, signed by the Chief of the Police Unit, Dodi Astaman.

The reason given for the destruction was that the six houses of worship were in an area owned by the Secretariat of State (Setneg) and did not have permits to build the buildings (IMB) in accordance with the Regulations (Perda Number 10, tahun 2005) concerning IMB.

Some local church officials protested the destruction. However, eventually about 30 members of the Police Unit carried out the destruction without any resistance.

According to Henri Manalu, pengurus GKPI, the reason for the destruction of the churches truly did not make any sense because the churches had been there before the Regulations (Perda Nomor 10 tahun 2004) had been introduced. ”We will continue to reject the destruction of these churches,” he stated.

Meanwhile, assistant II Bidang Pengendalian Pembangunan Pemerintah Kabupaten Tangerang, Deden Sugandi, who was contacted by SH on Wednesday afternoon, admitted they had not yet received any news about the plan to destroy these places of worship. ”I have not yet received any reports about the destruction,” he stated briefly.

In the location of the destruction, dozens of members of the Police Unit had emptied the churches by taking out all the chairs and other equipment from GKPI Church . Dozens of church members could be seen watching as their church was forcibly torn down. (wahyu wibisana)